ANNUAL GIVING CAMPAIGN FOR THE WLALA FOUNDATION
THE HOLIDAYS ARE A TIME TO GIVE THANKS: SPOTLIGHT ON WLALA/ICLC FELLOW
At the beginning of the Holiday Season, one of the WLALA Foundation’s traditions is thanking you — our donors — for contributions that now total over $215,000 to our Annual Giving Campaign and encouraging you to participate again in this year’s Campaign.
Over the past 12 years your generosity has enabled us to award:
• 40 scholarships for law students committed to issues affecting women and/or children.
• 19 Fran Kandel Public Interest Fellowships for law student projects that make governmental and social institutions and agencies more accessible to the underserved.
• 4 WLALA/Inner City Law Center Fellowships for law students interested in working to address the needs of homeless women veterans.
• WLALA Foundation’s many other pro bono activities, including the Honorable Beverly Reid O’Connell Power Lunches and its support of the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law and the Downtown Women’s Center.
We are proud to share the stories of the creation of the WLALA – Inner City Law Center (ICLC) partnership to help the growing number of female veterans who need legal advocates. Our most recent fellowship recipient is Chloe Chung, a second-year student at UCLA School of Law.
ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project is one of the few projects in the nation that offers free legal services to homeless veterans. It serves both male and female veterans. In 2009, ICLC began to focus on female veterans who were returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and becoming homeless, including women who were survivors of military sexual trauma. Since 2017, the WLALA Foundation has sponsored summer law clerks (also called fellows) to work with ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project and serve chronically homeless woman veterans.
Vidhya Ragunathan, ICLC’s Director of Pro Bono and a WLALA board member, explains that ICLC’s “Homeless Veterans Project serves some of the most vulnerable members of our community – those who have served our country, suffered from physical and mental trauma, and are now living without shelter and healthcare. The WLALA/ICLC Fellow plays a key role in serving this community by advocating for the rights of veterans to obtain discharge upgrades that more accurately reflect their time in service, access VA benefits and healthcare, and remove economic and legal obstacles to safe and stable housing. For veterans living on the streets, these services are often life-changing.”
Past ICLC/WLALA Fellows have navigated the bureaucratic intricacies of the Department of Veterans Affairs, collaborated with clients’ doctors and care providers in order to ensure the best outcomes for them, and committed themselves to serving the brave individuals who chose to serve their country. Fellows have also worked on VA disability benefits cases and discharge upgrades for women veteran clients, helped draft benefits applications, assisted with client intake, and researched issues on new VA policies and procedures. These experiences often strengthen the Fellows’ passion for working with veterans.
After her summer fellowship, Chloe proudly exclaimed, “I had an amazing summer at Inner City Law Center working on the Homeless Veterans Project to represent clients in claims for disability benefits, discharge status upgrades, and a multitude of other issues that arise while representing a veteran. I enjoyed working closely with a greatly deserving group of marginalized persons and it was especially rewarding to work with women veterans who face many additional obstacles as females navigating the military system.”
Kudos to Chloe for her work with homeless women veterans. Our scholarship and fellowship recipients exemplify some of the best talent coming into the profession. We plan to share more stories with you about our scholarship and fellowship recipients before the Annual Giving Campaign closes at the end of January.
We hope Chloe’s story inspired you to contribute to the Annual Giving Campaign. Your contributions will be very well used and help law students make a difference in our community as they serve members of our community. Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent provided by law. To make your contribution, CLICK HERE. Many thanks to those who have already given.
With gratitude and our wishes for a warm and wonderful Holiday Season,
Jennifer Altfeld Landau Vidhya Ragunathan
Susan Steinhauser Director of Pro Bono
Annual Giving Co-Chairs Inner City Law Center