Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Texas Innocence Project seeks funds after Madoff debacle

My employers at the Innocence Project of Texas (IPOT), a group dedicated to freeing innocent people from prison, took a major hit recently after the closure of the New-York based JEHT Foundation, which was a victim of the infamous Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme scandal. This unforeseen financial blow caused the Austin Statesman's editorial page to wonder, "What's the penalty for stealing hope?" A JEHT Foundation grant made up more than half of IPOT's annual funding.

Today IPOT Executive Director Natalie Roetzel sent out an email soliciting donations. Here's the text:
The Innocence Project of Texas Needs Your Help

The Innocence Project of Texas dedicates its time and money to assist those who have become voiceless in the criminal justice system, to those who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes in the State of Texas. In order to fund our Project, we actively seek out the support of foundations and donors, but we have learned over the past few weeks that we are not immune from Wall Street scandal. Most recently, our organization was informed that the JEHT Foundation, a major funder of IPOT's work in Dallas County, is closing its doors after being hit hard by Bernard Madoff's alleged ponzi scheme. In the wake of this tragedy that is affecting numerous non-profit organizations around the country, we are reaching out to you for contributions to our cause.

The JEHT Foundation has a legacy of funding organizations and government entities committed to achieving justice and preserving equality and human rights. In June of this year, the Foundation pledged more than $450,000 to fund DNA tests and IPOT expenses related to our work on Dallas County cases. Today, that funding is in jeopardy as the JEHT Foundation was forced to close its doors and inform grant recipients that no additional payments will be made on previously awarded grants. Although the loss of a portion of the IPOT designated JEHT funds will not constitute an end to our organization, it is a definite hurdle that we are committed to overcoming.

If you would like to assist the Innocence Project of Texas in our struggle to raise much needed funds for case investigations, DNA testing, and operational expenses, please consider making a donation today. By donating to the Innocence Project of Texas, you can play a part in making sure that Texas's wrongfully convicted men and women receive the justice they deserve.

Donate online today or mail your donation to the address below. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Innocence Project of Texas
1511 Texas Avenue
Lubbock, Texas 79401
Please help if you're able, and the more zeroes you can tack onto the end of the contribution, the better.

MORE: See IPOT's specific wish list and a discussion of legislative funding for innocence work from the Fort Worth Star Telegram.


Don Dickson said...

The trail of devastation in Bernie Madoff's wake is startling. IPOT. Myra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon. My alma mater, New York Law School, lost $3 million. The Elie Weisel Foundation got wiped out. And we still don't know the half of it.

It makes me a little sick to my stomach that this guy is being allowed to remain in his $7 million apartment in New York while my tax dollars pay for U. S. Marshals to drink coffee and play with themselves on the curb outside.

What is the penalty for stealing hope, indeed?

I beat you and Natalie to the punch, Grits....two days ago I posted a solicitation for IPOT donations on the discussion board of the Facebook group "100,000 Strong Against Wrongful Convictions."

There's also an IPOT Fan Club on Facebook but it appears to be in its infancy. I'm its fourth member. :-)

Last day to get in those precious tax deductions, people! Pony up!

Anonymous said...

May I suggest that Texas Innocence Project get in touch with Bill Ayers. The New York Times printed his "touching" story after the election wherein he says that noone was injured by any of his actions. He did not go to jail. Therefore, I think it would be most fitting if he were to help the Innocence Project to help all other people WHO ARE IN JAIL but DID NOT injure anyone. If he cannot do this, he is a hypocrite.