Building Philanthropy for a Better Florida

Civil Legal Aid: A Natural Ally in Advancing Social and Economic Mobility

Publication date: 
February, 2017

Eradicating poverty, homelessness, domestic violence. Supporting veterans, the elderly and immigrants. Creating healthy communities with affordable housing. No matter what your strategic philanthropic priorities, access to civil legal aid and legal advocacy are strategic tools that can advance philanthropy’s goals and help vulnerable populations achieve social and economic mobility. Civil legal Aid helps people solve problems – it can helps people protect their families, secure safe and affordable housing, protect income and assets, and ensure access to health care. Recent national studies show that 4 out of 5 individuals with low-incomes face a civil justice issue every 18 months. This session focuses on innovation solutions and ways to use civil legal aid as a key strategy to bolster high impact foundation programming and improve economic, social, and health conditions for people and communities.


Jim Sandman
President, Legal Services Corporation

Jim Sandman is President of the Legal Services Corporation. LSC is the nation’s largest single funder of civil legal aid programs for low-income people in the United States, supporting 134 independent programs serving every state and territory. In his time as President, he has approved more than $1.7 billion in grants. Jim previously served as Managing Partner of the international law firm of Arnold & Porter and as President of the District of Columbia Bar.

Lisa L. Brody
Managing Attorney-BALS-WST, Bay Area Legal Service

Lisa L. Brody is the Managing Attorney for the Bay Area Legal Services West Office which serves Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota Counties. In this capacity, she has developed several partnerships with key health organizations in the Community which has resulted in the establishment of new Medical Legal Partnerships to the service area. Lisa has also served as a Fellow with the National Medical Legal Partnership/NLADA Program at George Washington University. Her civic involvement includes past President of the Pinellas County Community Foundation. She presently serves on the Bayfront Hospital Board of Trustees and on the Boards for the Pinellas Opportunity Council and the Youth Development Foundation of Pinellas, Inc.

Sandra Ambrozy
Senior Program Officer, The Kresge Foundation

Sandra McAlister Ambrozy is a senior program officer with The Kresge Foundation’s Human Services Program. With more than 30 years of experience in philanthropy, Sandra has developed expertise in human services, arts and culture, green building initiatives and civil legal aid. She helps shape and refine grantmaking for the Human Services Program so Kresge’s philanthropic dollars are used effectively to advance innovative, multi-sectoral policy solutions in human services and foster the next generation of human services organizations. Sandra was named as a 2016 Presidio Institute Fellow and is participating in the fellowship program to build cross-sector leadership skills to address complex social challenges.

Melissa Moss
Deputy Director/Chief Program Officer, The Florida Bar Foundation

Melissa Moss oversees grants, development and pro bono and directs the Foundation’s strategic investments in research, program assessment, capacity-building, technical assistance and technology. She has 20 years of director-level experience in legal services and statewide pro bono support. Prior to joining the Foundation, Melissa served as the director of Indiana’s largest DV/Trafficking shelter and received the ICADV’s highest public service award.


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