Hamilton’s lawyers have come together as a community to launch a permanent endowment fund to benefit local children. Long known for their support of a myriad of causes with their resources and time, Hamilton’s lawyers have chosen to work collectively to build a fund that will have an impact in perpetuity.
“We want this fund to be here to help Hamilton’s children forever,” says Justice Ray Harris, who was the driving force behind efforts to create the fund. “An endowed fund at Hamilton Community Foundation is the perfect way to ensure that.”
The Lawyers’ Legacy for Children the Ray Harris Fund is intended to collectively inspire and enable children and young people to nourish and develop their knowledge, talents and values in the spirit of community, generosity and responsibility that has characterized the contributions of Hamilton’s lawyers.
The Hamilton Lawyers’ Club agreed to collaborate with HCF to establish the fund and developed the process by which regular grants will be recommended in the future.
The fund’s founding contribution came from the proceeds of the 2006 stage production, ‘Inherit the Wind’, which Justice Harris co-directed with former Theatre Aquarius artistic director Max Reimer. Local lawyers and judges played all the roles to the delight of Hamilton audiences.
This unique theatre genre – the Lawyers’ Show – originated in Hamilton in 1983 when the Lawyers’ Club produced ‘12 Angry Men’ (also directed by Justice Harris). It has since been widely emulated in support of many worthy causes in communities across Canada and the U.S.
Hamilton’s lawyers and judges have made substantial contributions to augment the fund and are planning another Lawyers’ Show and other fundraising initiatives to build the endowment.
“Thanks to the generosity of Hamilton’s lawyers, this fund will endure for centuries,” says Justice Harris. “It will have a lasting impact that reflects our legal community’s commitment to the community at large and will always be there to help the children.”
Excerpt from 2008-2009 Annual Report
A legacy that continues
Since 2008, 20 grants totaling $136,901 have been awarded from the Lawyers Legacy for Children the Ray Harris Fund supporting important initiatives throughout the community, including:
- Shalem Mental Health Network
- Munar Learning Centre
- Neighbour to Neighbour Centre (Hamilton)
- Essential Aid and Family Services of Ontario Inc.
- Wesley Urban Ministries
- Eva Rothwell Centre
- Living Rock Ministries
- The John Howard Society
- Hamilton Academy of Performance Arts
- Autism Society of Ontario, Hamilton Chapter
- Nelson Youth Centres
- YMCA of Hamilton/ Burlington/ Brantford
- Hugs N Snugs Support Services
The fund continues to grow, with the fund capital reaching over $500,000 – truly a legacy that will have an impact forever.