By Tyler J. Volm and Yoona Park

Published in the Multnomah Bar Association’s Multnomah Lawyer, May 2024 Edition

Welcome to the Fourth Annual Multnomah Bar Foundation Fundraising Campaign! The MBF has been busy fulfilling its mission of: (1) increasing the public’s understanding of the legal system; (2) promoting civic education, public participation and respect for the law; and (3) improving the quality and administration of the legal system. As we kick off this year’s campaign, the MBF Board offers this update on our programs, a glimpse into our budgetary considerations, and a reminder of why we make this ask.

Consolidated Fundraising Campaign

Several years ago, the Multnomah Bar Foundation (MBF) consolidated its two fundraising campaigns, one for Multnomah CourtCare and another for CourtSupport, into one. This move provided the MBF with flexibility to work its way out of the pandemic, which saw some services (including CourtCare) close for extended periods of time. The post-pandemic practice of law, including the way litigants use the local courthouse, continues to evolve. So does the MBF.
The new Central Courthouse is a bright, welcoming public space decorated with beautiful art and with breathtaking views around every corner – intentionally designed to reduce stress and fear for those who use it. The MBF’s programs fit nicely within this design ethos, and are intended to further reduce the anxiety associated with a trip to a busy courthouse.


Staffing shortages in a tight childcare labor market presented challenges as CourtCare emerged from the pandemic. A strong foundation, dedicated staff and board members, and healthy reserves helped this program rebound quickly. It is fully staffed and operational, providing free, drop-in childcare for families with business in the Multnomah County Central Courthouse. With your support, the MBF can continue this effort to keep kids out of contentious courtrooms.


The bilingual Navigator position has been a resounding success. Located at the information desk in the lobby of the Multnomah County Courthouse, the Navigator answers questions, connects individuals with the services they need, and generally makes the courthouse experience less intimidating. Trial Court Administrator Barbara Marcille says “these functions are incredibly valuable for people who need help and can relieve some of the stress of coming to court.”

Court Operations Task Force

In response to record inflation and increased cost of operations, the MBF Board established the Court Operations Task Force to increase efficiencies and work with state and local partners, including Volunteers of America (which hires and manages the CourtCare and CourtSupport staff), to engage in long-term planning for these vital programs.

Public Outreach

This committee continues to expand the MBF’s reach into our local community, bringing existing programs like CourtConnect, which puts a personal face on the justice system and helps educate the public about the role of the courts, to their respective locations, and also engaging in dialogue with organizational leaders to determine how our local bar can better serve the needs of the public. Led by the energetic judicial members of the MBF Board, we have met with numerous organizations over the last few years, including a delegation of young political leaders from Europe that visited the courthouse for a fascinating discussion of the similarities and differences in our legal systems.

Support from MBA Members

The MBF relies on donations from MBA members to fund its programs. As noted above, recent inflation has increased costs, making it ever more critical that the level of support we receive from MBA members remains strong. We’re asking you to maintain, or better yet, exceed, your prior generosity. The campaign runs May 1-31, and this year’s goal is to raise $120,000. We need your help to meet that goal and we would love to surpass it. You can donate online at, use the donation form in this issue, or call the MBA at 503.222.3275. Donations are payable to the Multnomah Bar Foundation and are tax-deductible.
Please help us reach our programming goals and donate to the MBF today. Your donation goes directly to supporting these important services and makes a noticeable impact locally. Please give what feels meaningful to you and your firm, and thank you for your consideration.

Multnomah Lawyer, May 2024