Preserving Independence, Hope, and Dignity since 1967

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BALS’ Veterans Legal Initiative Endowment Fund

The Need for Veterans’ Legal Services

Each year, Bay Area Legal Services provides legal aid to more than 1,000 military veterans living in the Tampa Bay area, but due to limited resources, we are unable to assist hundreds more who apply for our help.

  • The need for veterans’ legal services is significant. Florida has the third largest population of veterans in the nation, and our five-county service area is home to nearly 315,000 veterans. Of these local veterans, more than 20,000 live at or below the federal poverty level. Most cannot afford to hire an attorney.
  • Low-income, disabled, and homeless veterans often face legal problems that cannot be resolved without an attorney. Without legal help, these veterans may not be able to maintain employment, keep their families stable, obtain permanent housing, or secure the veterans benefits which were promised to them when they joined the armed forces to serve our country.
  • Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and substance abuse are particularly vulnerable to the stress caused by unresolved legal problems. Without legal help, veterans can become isolated, depressed, homeless, and even suicidal.

Our Solution

To ensure more local veterans receive the legal help they need, BALS has launched our veterans’ legal services initiative and established the Veterans Legal Initiative Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. Our goal is to raise $1,000,000. The Community Foundation will provide a $100,000 matching grant when we raise the first $300,000 towards the Endowment.

How You Can Help

With sufficient financial support, we will have the resources to provide specialized, free legal services to more veterans. A donation to the Endowment will enable BALS to implement these initiatives:

  • Enhance and expand our medical-legal partnership at the C.W. Young VA Medical Center, which provides legal help to veterans who are enrolled in the VA healthcare system, by collaborating with other veterans’ projects and partnering with veterans’ service centers to provide intake at additional locations in our service area.
  • Establish a Veterans Advocacy Team at BALS that is focused solely on legal assistance for veterans. The Team will include full-time staff and volunteer attorneys trained to work with and assist veterans.
  • Provide specialized training for BALS staff and volunteer attorneys that is focused on veterans’ unmet legal needs.
  • Provide legal resources to empower veterans to help themselves, including self-help forms clinics and legal information workshops that address legal problems commonly faced by veterans.
  • Coordinate with veterans’ agencies and support groups to ensure availability and access to the services and resources that veterans need by partnering with local healthcare providers, social service agencies, legal services organizations, bar associations, law firms, and law schools.

Your support of our Endowment will give us the resources we need to build and sustain our veterans’ legal services. Together we can ensure that BALS will provide legal assistance to veterans today and in the future.

Donate to the Veterans Legal Initiative Endowment Fund Today!

To make an Endowment contribution online, please click here, or click here for a printable donation form. 

Our Donors

Thank you to those who have donated to the Veterans Legal Initiative Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. Your generous gift has brought us one step closer to providing the service and care our country’s veterans deserve.

$25,000 and Greater

Hill Ward Henderson

Hillsborough County Bar Foundation


$15,000 - $24,999

Bajo | Cuva | Cohen | Turkel P.A.


$10,000 - $14,999

Mike and Rachelle Bedke

Gregory A. Glynis and Miriam E. Mason

Rywant, Alvarez, Jones, Russo & Guyton, P.A.

White Family Foundation


$5,000 - $9,999

Community Foundation of Tampa Bay

Mark and Mindy McLaughlin

New York Yankees Tampa Foundation


$3,500 - $4,999

Linda Mann


$1,000 - $3,499

American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 273

Thomas D. Arthur

George and Deborah Baxter

Karen and Bob Buesing

Amelia Campbell & Bill Sharon

Betty Castor and Samuel Bell

Honorable Marva Louise Crenshaw

Robert Freedman

Susan and Bruce Frieman

Richard A. Gilbert

Greco & Wozniak, P.A. 

$1,000 - $3,499

Joseph J. Kadow

Charles F. Ketchey, Jr.

Keith and Alice Kiplinger

Kathleen Kloiber Koch

John and Mary Catherine Lamoureux

Fredrick H. L. McClure

Kathleen McLeroy

Jeff H. Otterman

Jason Quintero

Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

Don M. Stichter

Sylvia Walbolt

Paul L. and Gail F. Whiting

Cary and Alison Wright

Gwynne A. Young

Tom & Magdalena Young


$500 - $999

Honorable Herbert M. Berkowitz and Gloria E. Berkowitz

Nancy and Bob Bolt

Mark A. Brown

Ann H. Campbell

James R. Dirmann

Scott Ilgenfritz and Margaret Mathews

J.P. and Lynda LaCasse

Sonia Lawson

Richard M. Leisner

Kevin P. McCoy

James B. Peake, M.D.

The following individuals have been honored or memorialized with a gift from an endowment donor listed above:

Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Bedke

Maj. Gen. Ernest Bedke

Mike and Rachelle Bedke

Col. Emmett Kelly Bittick, US Army (Ret.)

John W. Boult

Kelly Cruz Brown

Charles S. "Chuck" Casper, II

Captain Michael Anthony Cerrone

Blaise Nolan Gamba

Col. Donald T. Gilbert

Jeremy Gluckman

James Edwin Hurst, US Army

M.E. Hurst, US Army

Glenn F. Kloiber, US Army

Lieutenant Clarence M. Lawyer, III, USNR

James Leon McCrory, Capt., USAF

Robert F. Motte, US Army

Lieutenant Colonel Omar T. Ojeda, USAF (ret.)

Homer Lee Otterman, US Army

William R. “Bill” Platt

Carlos E. Quintero, 101st Airborne “Charger”

Bruce Adams Samson

George Kimbrell Streeter, US Navy

Thomas Eugene Streeter, US Navy



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