The History of the Iowa State Bar Foundation

The History of the Iowa State Bar Foundation

Because history does have a way of repeating itself, take just a moment to return to the very beginnings of the Iowas State Bar Foundation formation……a time for the protecting of America.

The Foundation’s Beginning – 1944

At the meeting of the Board of Governors held in Des Moines, IA on the 23rd day of September, 1944 the committee submitted Articles of Incorporation which were adopted.

The Iowa State Bar Foundation is a non-profit corporation brought into being for the purpose of making possible a much wider service by the members of the legal profession than has ever been possible heretofore. The State Bar Association has never been able to accumulate any more funds than necessary to carry on its ordinary and very limited functions. However, the time has come in the affairs of our state and nation when our people are going to be compelled to face problems of such importance and difficulty that those who are qualified to help meet them must take a much broader responsibility. There is no group or profession so well qualified to help avoid disaster as the members of our profession.

We have, therefore, created a corporation which is authorized to receive funds and use them in an attempt to meet the hazards which are certainly ahead of us. It is a long-range plan. By its Articles and By-laws the funds are hedged about in the manner in which they may be used. They are controlled by a Board of five Directors who are elected in staggered terms of five years and whose experience and reputation justifies confidence in the manner in which the funds will be used. The corporation is authorized to receive direct donations or bequests or contributions may be made to it as Trustee with directions that the principal or the income there from shall be used for certain specified purposes.

It is soliciting funds in the hope that a substantial endowment may be built which will be used indefinitely. It offers a safe place where funds can be kept at work long after the donor is deceased. As long as there are lawyers and a legal profession this corporation will continue to function. When there is no longer a legal profession it will make little difference what happens.

The membership of the corporation is limited and consists of the twenty-two members of the Board of Governors of the State Bar Association. It, therefore, can never be made to serve any political or special interest of any group or faction as the membership comes from each of the twenty-two judicial districts in the state.

The Internal Revenue Department has held that any donations to the Foundation are deductible from income and the net cost is thereby reduced according to the bracket.

As to the purpose or plans of the Foundation, this cannot be answered in detail as yet. The extent of the activities of the Foundation will depend upon the amount of income it will have available for use and situations as they develop will determine the program. However, it will live long into the future and those who are interested may confidently depend upon a long and useful service of any funds entrusted to its care. There will be problems of national and international character as an aftermath of the war the magnitude of which we have no way of estimating. No one is endowed with a prophetic vision that would enable him to anticipate the needs or the problems of the future. However, we may safely anticipate that many of our institutions that we have always believed in will disappear with them.

We could be of great assistance to more than 600 lawyers who have enlisted in the military service when they are ready to re-enter the profession if we now had the funds; there is the field of juvenile delinquency which is beginning to be a very real menace but which has received very little attention from any source; there is a growing invasion of the entire judicial system by administrative agencies which is thought by some to be on the way to an undermining of our courts and we could assist very materially in the campaign to prevent further inroads if we were equipped to do so; there is already in existence the possibility of a degree of inflation that could become a threat to our entire economic structure in the deflation that must inevitably follow.

These are only illustrations of what we may look forward to. There is a place for organized effort as we move into the crucial years ahead. There will be need for sane thinking and courageous effort as we face the new responsibilities we have been forced to accept as the result of a global war. This Foundation hopes to furnish the machinery that will enable our profession to take a more active part in saving what untold billions of dollars and millions of lives have been spent in preserving.

We are going to live in a new world. There will be new and serious problems. It is hoped that what we do now will be carried forward in greater measure by those who follow us and that we will have in a few years a strong institution equipped to perform a much greater service than our profession has ever been able to render heretofore.

John A. Senneff, Thomas B. Roberts (Secretary Treasurer), James W. Bollinger (Vice- President), Wayne G. Cook, Burt J. Thompson (President), Directors, Iowa State Bar Foundation.

The initial contributions totaled $7,000.

Restated Articles of Incorporation of The Iowa State Bar Foundation
The purpose or purposes for which the corporation is organized are the receive of gifts, bequests and devises to be used for the advancement of jurisprudence and the promotion of the administration of justice and uniformity of judicial decisions, exclusively through education and scientific research.

To accomplish these purposes, the Corporation may take and hold by bequest, devise, gift, grant, purchase, lease or otherwise, any property, real, personal, tangible or intangible, or any undivided interest therein, without limitation as to invest, reinvest or deal with the principle or the income thereof in such manner as in the judgment of the Directors to best promote the purposes of the Corporation; to do any other act or thing incidental to or connected with the foregoing purposes or any advancement thereof, in furtherance of its Corporate purposes, the Corporation shall have all general powers enumerated in Chapter 504A of the Code of Iowa 1987. All of these purposes for which the Corporation is formed are for scientific, educational and charitable purposes within the meaning of Sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Code).

What is the Foundation?
The Foundation is a separate legal entity from The Iowa State Bar Association; it is governed by a nine-person Board of Directors made up of attorneys from across the State. Because the Foundation is a 501(c)3 non profit organization, contributions are tax deductible. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

How Can I Give?
There are many ways you can give to your Foundation. An outright cash gift is the simplest. You can also give at the times of your ISBA dues billing statement. You may also wish to make a memorial gift in honor of a colleague, judge, family member or friend. A bequest allows you to make a significant contribution in the future without affecting your income now. All of these gifts can extend your influence far beyond your lifetime.

Initially, every member of the Bar gave $3.00 or ¼ above the total of their annual dues amount for a total of $7,000. If that were to happen today, the Foundation would receive a sum of $184,792.00 annually from the ISBA members.