2016 Recipient Beth T. Morrison
When it comes to pro bono efforts, Beth Morrison of our Minneapolis office has dedicated herself to providing as much legal assistance and leadership as she can to help stem domestic violence and sex trafficking around the state of Minnesota. In addition, she leads the Women’s Rotary in Minneapolis and works to help kids get ready for the Special Olympics as a volunteer at Gigi’s Playhouse.
Beth serves on the Board for the Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project (BWLAP). Since 1983 BWLAP has sought ways to improve the legal systems’ response to battered women and children, whether through the passage of new legislation, or the enforcement of current laws. BWLAP takes a leadership role in several state-wide collaborative efforts to address the legal and community needs of battered women and children. Its activities are aimed at reducing barriers, eliminating discrimination and creating long-term change through multiple programs designed to inform and deter.
She also serves as a Safety Project volunteer at Tubman where she offers free legal representation to low-income victims of domestic violence. The victims have a need for legal assistance and are seeking Orders for Protection (OFP). Legal advocates at several area domestic abuse agencies refer clients to this program through Tubman. Beth helps them to file the OFP’s.
The statistics in Minnesota related to domestic violence are sobering. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 homeless women in Minnesota is homeless because of domestic violence. In 2011, Minnesota courts adjudicated more than 27,999 cases of domestic violence. Nationally, on a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive 21,000 calls – more than 15 calls per minute. Intimate partner crime accounts for 15% of all violent crimes. As the statistics indicate, this is an issue which requires our efforts and Beth is representing the firm, and the victims well, through her pro bono service.
Another area Beth volunteers her time is serving as the President of the Minneapolis Women’s Rotary. The Minneapolis Women's Rotary began in 1911 and is the only all-female rotary in the United States. Each year the Women’s Rotary picks two non-profits to assist and this year as its President, Beth helped to raise more than $20,000 to help fund scholarships for women and to help fund the Jeremiah Program – a program which offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies for transforming families from poverty into prosperity two generations at a time.
Beth does save some time for more light-hearted volunteering through her efforts as a volunteer at GiGi’s Playhouse, where she helps children prepare for the Special Olympics. GiGi’s Playhouse is a national program and is a one-of-a-kind achievement center for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community. It offers more than 25 therapeutic and educational programs that advance literacy, math skills, motor skills and more; all of which are free of charge. Significantly, its founder, Nancy Gianni, was named a 2016 CNN Hero.