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Legal Aid Foundation Receives $25,000 Donation from Cappello & Noël

The law firm contributes to the foundation's annual year-end appeal

The Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County has received a $25,000 cash contribution from Cappello & Noël for its Annual Year End Appeal for Campaign for Equal Justice.

“This contribution from Cappello & Noël is truly a lifeline. It will provide much-needed unrestricted dollars to support the basic needs of the organization as we continue to provide high-quality civil justice services to the poorest sections of Santa Barbara County,” Legal Aid Executive Director Ellen Goodstein said. “We are deeply grateful for their continued support of Legal Aid.”

“Individuals and families are seeking help with serious economic and personal legal issues,” said A. Barry Cappello, managing partner of Cappello & Noël. “Their numbers are increasing as the economic downturn continues. Without the foundation’s assistance, many would suffer great hardship.”

Leila Noël, a partner at Cappello & Noël, added: “The Legal Aid Foundation survives on donations. Donations are off at a time when more people need help. The foundation’s resources are stretched thin. With our firm’s contribution, and contributions from others, we hope that assistance will be available to everyone in need.”

“The economic realities are forcing more people to seek our assistance, particularly in areas of housing and domestic violence so demand for our services has increased,” Goodstein said. “However, we are hard-pressed to match demand as a result of reduced fundraising dollars from private and government funders. Our own economic realities have caused us to furlough all our full-time staff one day a week. We’re working hard to bring our attorneys back to full time before the rest of the staff, so we can continue to be the safety net for low-income Santa Barbara County residents who have nowhere else to turn.”

For 50 years, Legal Aid’s mission has been to ensure that low-income people and seniors have access to the civil justice system — to secure safe shelter, adequate income, and protection from domestic violence and elder abuse.

Highlights of the past fiscal year:

» It helped more than 5,600 Santa Barbara County residents

» It assisted 566 victims of domestic violence obtain protection against their perpetrators

» Volunteer attorneys with the Project Outreach and Senior Outreach programs counseled more than 360 visitors at the Franklin, Westside and Goleta community centers.

» Staff and volunteer attorneys provided assistance to more than 4,200 self-represented litigants at its three (Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc) courthouse self-help centers.

“Our staff and board of directors of the Legal Aid Foundation gratefully acknowledge the ongoing and extremely generous support of Cappello & Noël,” Goodstein said. “It will indeed be a happy holiday season after all.”

— Niki Richardson is the development director for the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County.

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