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The Lovelady Center (TLC) will receive $2 million from the 2023 federal budget to support critical capital needs, after members of Balch & Bingham’s Public Policy & Government Relations Practice led advocacy and education efforts highlighting the center’s mission and needs.
The Lovelady Center, based in Birmingham, Alabama, helps women rebuild their lives after challenges including incarceration, addiction, domestic violence and homelessness. TLC allows mothers to bring their young children and is the largest facility of its kind in the nation, currently providing long-term housing and essential services to more than 500 women and children. Not only does it provide shelter, food, clothing, medical services and childcare, TLC also offers services to teach life skills, work force training and spiritual guidance. A woman’s average stay at the center typically spans from nine months to a year and a half.
John McNeil, Chair of TLC Board and Chief Operating Officer, said the new federal appropriation will be used to make critical capital improvements to the 280,000 sq. foot facility. The building was first used as a dormitory for Howard College in 1927 and was later adapted and expanded to be used as a hospital. The federal funds will be used to help attract and leverage additional opportunities and investments from the local community to modernize the facility, which TLC moved into in 2005. Plans include replacing all the windows and doors and repairing the bathrooms and bedrooms.
“Without a question, it’s going to help change more lives,” John McNeil said about the appropriation. “We just want this to be a home that feels like a place where these women and their children feel safe and the ladies can focus on their recovery and can be open and honest and make the progress we believe they can make.”
The Lovelady Center is located in Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s district. Members of Balch’s Public Policy & Government Relations Practice worked with Rep. Sewell, who successfully made the budget request for the $2 million federal appropriation to be included for TLC.
“We were honored to have the opportunity to work with Congresswoman Sewell and her office’s professional team to highlight the outstanding work of The Lovelady Center, the organization’s increasing demand for its services and ways in which it improves the lives of many in Alabama,” Balch’s Brian Rell shared. “We are grateful for her support and enthusiasm for the mission of the center, and we are lucky to have Congresswoman Sewell as a member of Congress and advocate for Birmingham.”
Members of Balch’s Public Policy & Government Relations Practice Steve Still, Brian Rell and Michael Davis worked alongside the TLC’s leadership team to develop a strategy to help identify new resources to support the center’s continued growth. Their work included an education campaign highlighting the center’s current and anticipated needs, as well as leading advocacy efforts, helping the center’s leadership identify their growth opportunities and to educate key policy makers about the work TLC is doing in Alabama.
“Their professionalism is next to none, but it was the way they caught our same passion for what we do as they came and visited, and talked to us as we made plans,” John McNeil said of the Balch team. “They were as passionate about seeing these things accomplished as we were.”
The Lovelady Center sustains its programming and capital needs through a mix of private, corporate and foundation donations, as well as revenue generated by its thrift stores. This federal appropriation marks the first occasion that the center has received federal funding.
“It was an honor to help educate the community about the important work being done at The Lovelady Center, which is transforming the lives of women and children every day,” Michael said. “The needs are great and we hope to continue our partnership to help even more families.”
John McNeil also expressed appreciation for Rep. Sewell, calling her interest in the center’s mission and commitment to help inspiring.
“The new gift provides an unbelievable launch pad to help us get everything done that we need to do,” John McNeil said of the new appropriation.
After opening in 2005, The Lovelady Center has helped more than 13,800 women and 3,800 children rebuild their lives. With high demand and limited space, more than 150 women are on a waiting list to move into the facility.
For nearly a century, Balch’s attorneys and professionals have contributed thousands of pro bono hours each year to help provide equal access to justice and have supported hundreds of community organizations across our footprint that improve our communities. We foster an ongoing commitment to serving our communities, both individually and collectively. This value is deeply engrained in our culture and passionately guides our firm-wide pro bono service.
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