Since its inception, the Leesfield Family Foundation has been associated with local, national and international charities which protect and support less advantaged and economically deprived women and children. In 2018, the Foundation expanded its contributions and activities identifying the following organizations:
Continued support: Lotus House/Sundari Foundation – funding the grand opening of the Lotus Village now includes three separate grants over the last twelve months. The facility serves women and children, offering programs for youth, elders and individuals with medical needs, expanding its capacity from 250 to almost 500. It will serve as a safe haven for women with severe trauma histories, expecting women and infants, and families of all sizes. The Children’s Wellness Center will offer child therapy services, parenting classes, day care services and a playground. A neighborhood health clinic will offer basic and preventive health care and wellness programs for the shelter as well as the Overtown neighborhood. A Grand Opening Celebration was held on April 19th, where the Leesfield Family Foundation and hundreds of supporters and friends of Lotus House/Sundari Foundation recognized the important role of Lotus House in the South Florida Community.
For the fourth year, the Leesfield Family Foundation has recognized the important work of Holly Zwerling, Founder, President and CEO of the Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida. In 2010, Holly and six dedicated fathers organized Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida to facilitate involvement of fathers in their children’s lives through focused programs. Every year, in conjunction with the Miami-Dade County Public School System, the organization holds annual event “Fathers in Education Week” encouraging fathers, grandfathers, uncles and male role models to participate in school activities with their children. Interactive workshops, continuing education programs and support groups are hosted in different schools with the goal of helping men forge a closer relationship with the children in their lives. The initiative is in partnership with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Office of Community Engagement. On May 10th, 2018, Foundation Chair Ira Leesfield was presented with the VISIONARY LEADER AWARD recognizing his social responsibility and engagement, in strengthening initiatives for fathers and children. The award ceremony took place at Silver Bluff Elementary School in Miami, FL and was attended by numerous business and community leaders from South Florida, including, Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County School Board. “We are honored to continue our collaboration with Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida and their important work in our community,” said Ira Leesfield.
We congratulate our friend Daniel L. Leyton and his colleagues for their work in Lawyers for Children America, a child advocacy organization, protecting the rights of children who are victims of abuse and neglect, providing pro bono legal representation. The Leesfield Family Foundation supports Lawyers for Children America as it continues to make a significant difference in the lives of the children they represent.
On March 15th, The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment held its Peace, Harmony & Moonlight Party under the Stars at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, FL. We proudly supported the event and wish to express our gratitude to the founders and hard working staff of this remarkable organization. We join in their mission to hope for peace and prevent violence in our community through education and application of research-based knowledge.
Right now, America is witnessing an unprecedented illegal shattering of families in a mean spirited program to “deter” those fleeing violence, forcibly separating minor children from their parents and siblings. They are not entitled to free legal representation during the prolonged detention and complex legal process. Hundreds of children have been detained, rendering them at risk of abuse and neglect. Americans for Immigrant Justice is an organization which protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants and especially, advocating the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children. The Leesfield Family Foundation proudly supports AIJ in their quest to serve thousands of immigrants from around the world, providing legal assistance to immigrants, and in particular, those facing risk of family separation. We commend this organization for their effectiveness in the fight for immigrant justice.
Our AAJ Law Student Scholarship Program enters its 24th year, as we award the 28th Leesfield/AAJ Law Student scholarship to Allison Takacs, an outstanding law student from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. Allison will be starting her third year in the Fall. She is the recipient of the Provost’s Scholarship and Winner of the 2018 Advocates Trial Tournament. The award will be presented at the American Association for Justice Annual Convention being held in Denver, CO on Tuesday, July 10th. LFF is proud to continue its recognition of law students who exemplify a high commitment to trial advocacy and the preservation of the civil justice system. We congratulate Allison for her passion and dedication to the rule of law.