HOPE Celebrates 20th Anniversary; Raises Funds for Summer Public Interest Fellowships

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The HOPE Public Interest Resource Center’s 20th Year Celebration took place on campus on October 10, 2018. The event included the culmination of their week-long online auction to raise funds for summer public interest fellowships for law students. Faculty, staff, students, community members and friends of HOPE came together to commemorate 20 years of working to increase public interest opportunities and engagement for Miami Law students. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava recognized HOPE’s 20th Anniversary milestone by presenting an official Miami-Dade County Proclamation, making the occasion an incredibly special night and designating October 10th “HOPE Day” for Miami-Dade County. 

Photos from HOPE's 20th anniversary celebration

“It is fitting for Miami-Dade County to honor the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center for the work it does to promote public service and provide law students with opportunities to provide assistance to public institutions in America and around the globe. It’s organizations like HOPE that give us all hope,” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava.

The auction, which was live online from October 1 - October 10, is annual tradition alumni and students look forward to each year. More than 50 Miami Law students actively sought donations from local and national businesses over the summer and at the beginning of the semester and compiled an exciting catalog including more than 175 donations. From hotel stays at The Betsy, to restaurant donations from Tarpon Bend and Beaker & Gray, memberships to Fairchild Tropical Gardens, and much more, there was something for everyone. Faculty generously donated their time with unique and exciting outings such as a mangrove paddle boarding eco-tour for three students with Natalie Barefoot and Krav Maga instruction for 6 students led by Professor Mary Anne Franks. Students also donated their time and expertise by offering donations such as tutoring and jazz singing. These personalized items make the auction an exceptional opportunity to get to know faculty and students outside of the classroom. 

Gathering the donations is a student-led effort, with the Public Interest Leadership Board’s Fundraising Committee taking the initiative to oversee the work. Co-Chair of the Fundraising Committee, Haley Cove, said, “After receiving a Summer Public Interest Fellowship my 1L year, I felt completely reassured that public interest law was what I was meant to pursue. I felt compelled to take on a leadership role as Chair of Fundraising for PILB in order to be sure other students were able to have similar enlightening experiences, as well as to encourage students to explore career opportunities with public interest organizations. As a Fundraising Chair for the last two years, I helped lead the campaign to raise donations for our annual HOPE auction, where 100% of proceeds funded SPIF and HOPE summer fellowships. I am extremely glad to have helped ‘pay it forward’ to future SPIF and HOPE Fellows and am excited to see what their experiences yield!”

“It was wonderful to celebrate 20 Years of HOPE and welcome back so many alumni,” said Marni Lennon, HOPE Founder and Assistant Dean for Public Interest and Pro Bono. “I am so proud of our Fellows who work so hard to make a difference in the lives of others. We have come a long way in establishing public interest opportunities and look forward to engaging more students around public interest and pro bono in the years to come. The auction and year-end donations enable us to say yes to law students seeking to dedicate their time and advocacy to the public interest through summer fellowships.” 

All of the proceeds raised from the auction support the HOPE and SPIF summer fellowship programs that enable Miami Law students to take unpaid positions at non-profit and governmental agencies over the summer where they serve vulnerable and marginalized populations. If you missed the auction and would like to support HOPE Fellowship programs in this 20th Year of HOPE, you may donate online.