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SLC honors Bill Van Nortwick with fund in his name

Southern Legal Counsel May 29 launched The Hon. William A. Van Nortwick, Jr. Impact for Justice Fund at an event honoring the late Jacksonville lawyer, jurist and renowned champion of statewide civil legal aid and pro bono efforts.

With a goal of raising $500,000 by the end of 2020, SLC will use the fund to ensure it has the legal resources, national experts, litigation expenses, and needed technology to continue providing high-quality representation for the most vulnerable citizens.

SLC doesn’t accept government funding so that it can retain the independence to pursue systemic change at the local, state and federal level. This strength is also one of the firm’s greatest challenges. And it’s why private support for SLC is so critical. SLC’s donors are ensuring that those with the least political and economic power, such as low-income children, people with disabilities and older adults, have critical line of defense in safeguarding their most basic rights.

Maria Henderson, who was not only Bill’s wife but also worked with him at Akerman LLP and in service to civil legal aid community, has made a lead gift of $25,000 to the fund. She and Bill both served as presidents of The Florida Bar Foundation, with Henderson being the first non-lawyer ever in the post. Meanwhile, Bill served on SLC’s board and as longtime co-chair of The Florida Bar’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services.

Jacksonville attorney Bob Spohrer, who chairs SLC’s fundraising committee, also made a $10,000 seed gift to the fund.

SLC holds celebrations of justice around the state

In addition to the event in Jacksonville, SLC held a celebration of justice May 16 at the Tampa home of Tom and Linda Scarritt in honor of former SLC board chair Richard A. Gilbert.

Future events are planned for Gainesville, Orlando, Miami and the Florida Panhandle. These events are an opportunity for SLC to honor its donors and supporters while also introducing the organization to those who may not know about its statewide mission and impact.

With additional resources, SLC can continue to take on civil and human rights cases that will help change laws and policies so that the rights of Floridians are better protected in the future.

If you are interested in hosting an event or making a pledge or planned gift, please contact SLC Executive Director Jodi Siegel via e-mail or at (352) 271-8890.