This holiday season, send a story of hope to someone you love

This holiday season, send a story of hope to someone you love

To celebrate the end of the year, we’re launching a brand new feature: giving in honor of a loved one. Now, when you make a gift, enter your loved one’s email address, and we’ll send a story from 2019 right to their inbox by the end of the year.

Give today, and make a loved one smile!

Give today, and make a loved one smile!

We’ve curated 19 stories from 2019 to help you spread joy to your loved ones. Here is a sneak peak of some of our favorites:

“I’ve struggled with addiction and homelessness my entire life. Everything came to a head when my motorhome was destroyed in a police chase. I thought I’d have to go to a shelter. Because of gifts like yours, Open Door Legal was able to take my case. They got me money back for my home and expunged my record so I could have a fresh start. Now, I have been clean for over a decade, and am in safe, stable housing. I spend my free time volunteering with those struggling with homelessness. I want them to know that they aren’t alone.” 

–Robin, former client

“Growing up, my father and I shared a home with another Korean American family. It was always freezing because there was no heating, especially on the converted patio where my dad slept. Every morning I stared at the black mold framing my damp window. I went to law school because I wanted to fight for the city’s most marginalized people. I knew from first hand experience how negligent landlords harm low-income San Franciscans every year. Now, I’m a housing attorney at Open Door Legal. Thanks to gifts like yours, I can help my clients stay in safe homes, and get compensated for what they’ve endured.”

–Dyne, Housing Attorney

“Once, while working as an after school tutor, one of my student’s dads told me all about his legal troubles. There was nothing I could do to help then, but it piqued my interest in the law. My first week volunteering at Open Door Legal, I sat in on an intake with a client who had badly cut her finger on broken glass in a rideshare. She was elderly, so she was rushed to the hospital to avoid an infection. The rideshare company refused to pay the bill. Thanks to your support, every dime was paid for, and she even got compensation from the company. It felt amazing giving back like that.” 

–Langston, Volunteer

We’ve curated 19 stories from 2019 to help you spread joy to your loved ones. Here is a sneak peak of some of our favorites:

“I’ve struggled with addiction and homelessness my entire life. Everything came to a head when my motorhome was destroyed in a police chase. I thought I’d have to go to a shelter. Because of gifts like yours, Open Door Legal was able to take my case. They got me money back for my home and expunged my record so I could have a fresh start. Now, I have been clean for over a decade, and am in safe, stable housing. I spend my free time volunteering with those struggling with homelessness. I want them to know that they aren’t alone.” 

–Robin, former client

“Growing up, my father and I shared a home with another Korean American family. It was always freezing because there was no heating, especially on the converted patio where my dad slept. Every morning I stared at the black mold framing my damp window. I went to law school because I wanted to fight for the city’s most marginalized people. I knew from first hand experience how negligent landlords harm low-income San Franciscans every year. Now, I’m a housing attorney at Open Door Legal. Thanks to gifts like yours, I can help my clients stay in safe homes, and get compensated for what they’ve endured.”

–Dyne, Housing Attorney

“Once, while working as an after school tutor, one of my student’s dads told me all about his legal troubles. There was nothing I could do to help then, but it piqued my interest in the law. My first week volunteering at Open Door Legal, I sat in on an intake with a client who had badly cut her finger on broken glass in a rideshare. She was elderly, so she was rushed to the hospital to avoid an infection. The rideshare company refused to pay the bill. Thanks to your support, every dime was paid for, and she even got compensation from the company. It felt amazing giving back like that.” 

–Langston, Volunteer

None of these stories would be possible without supporters like you. Now, share the joy of these wins with someone you love.

CITATIONS

1. American University, Key Studies and Data About How Legal Aid Improves Housing Outcomes https://www.american.edu/spa/jpo/toolkit/upload/housing-7-30-19.pdf

2. George Washington Law School, In Pursuit of Justice? Case Outcomes and the Delivery of Unbundled Legal Services https://scholarship.law.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi

Ever since childhood, our co-founder Adrian has been dedicated to reducing poverty.

He studied systemic poverty in college and went to work in the field for a few years. Eventually, he had a thesis that legal aid was the most cost-effective way to address poverty in America. He wrote up a business plan and used it to apply to law school. 

The idea was to create the country’s first system of universal access to civil legal representation that ensures everyone can obtain timely, competent legal help for any legal issue, regardless of ability to pay. That had never been done before in the history of the United States.

In law school, he met Virginia, our Programs Director. Together, they co-founded the organization, two weeks after Adrian passed the bar.

When we opened we put a sign in the window, and with just that marketing and almost no other outreach we were overwhelmed with requests for help from people with good cases who had been turned away everywhere else.

Our first year we had revenue of $35,000. We would hand shred documents because a shredder was too expensive. Despite the financial challenges, we were able to work on over 280 cases in everything from housing law to family law to consumer law in the first year alone.

The hours were extreme, the pay was low, and the learning curve was steep. Still, we persisted. We knew that almost everyone we helped was not able to receive services anywhere else. Eventually, we attracted the interest of funders. We tripled our revenue for several years in a row. In 2015, we won the Bay Area Google Impact Challenge, which enabled us to expand even more. In 2019, we secured additional funding from the city that allowed us to open two new centers in the Excelsior and Western Addition.

As of 2020, our staff has grown to 27 full-time employees. We’ve shown that universal access is possible. Now, we plan to scale city-wide, make San Francisco the first city in the country’s history to have universal access to legal help, and become a model for national replication.