June, 2017

Dear Friend:

Three cheers to our stellar Volunteer Attorney Award Winners and a big surprise from the Cummings Foundation! Read on for the whole scoop…

WBF Volunteer Attorney Award Winners!

Crescent Moran Chasteen

Crescent Moran Chasteen

Matthew Connolly

Matthew Connolly

Erin Whitney

Erin Whitney

Melanie Woodward

Melanie Woodward

Each quarter, the WBF recognizes a volunteer attorney or firm that has gone above and beyond in representing their WBF client. This quarter, the volunteer attorney award is awarded to Crescent Moran Chasteen, Of Counsel at Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, and her colleagues, Matthew Connolly, Senior Associate, Melanie Woodward, Associate, and Erin Whitney, Associate, who have dedicated more than 300 pro bono hours to support their client, Lucinda.

Lucinda’s husband of three years abandoned her and their baby, Alex. Lucinda filed for divorce on her own, but quickly realized she needed an attorney’s help to avoid becoming homeless. Two days before Lucinda filed for divorce, and without consulting Lucinda, her husband transferred ownership of the marital home to a relative. That relative then sent Lucinda’s parents, who were there living with her to assist in caring for the baby, an eviction notice. Lucinda received no proceeds from the transfer of the house and was immediately cut off from all marital finances. Subsequently, the husband’s relative also sent Lucinda a notice threatening to either evict her and her baby, or charge her an exorbitant amount of rent. She contacted the WBF, which was able to refer the case to Attorney Chasteen and her colleagues, pro bono. They secured a tremendous victory for their client—a temporary restraining order preventing transfer of the marital home and prohibiting Lucinda’s husband (and relative) from evicting her and the baby and charging  rent. The team at Nutter continues to work with Lucinda to secure her rightful share of the value of the marital home, as well as a parenting agreement and child support so that Lucinda can continue to care for her son.

“Our team works in a variety of practices, but had one goal in common, wanting to contribute to the legal community in a meaningful way and to ensure that people from all backgrounds have access to a level playing field when it comes to our judicial system” Attorney Chasteen explained, “This has been an incredibly rewarding experience for the entire team. We’re really making a difference in someone’s life. Securing our client’s rightful share of the marital home and other assets will allow her and her son to start over in a suitable home of their own. Further, our work with the Women’s Bar Foundation has also connected us with an amazing mentor, Fern Frolin. Not only is she an outstanding family law attorney whose knowledge and experience is indispensable to our team as we represent our client, but she is also a wonderful person.”

Thank you attorneys Chasteen, Connolly, Woodward, and Whitney for your commitment to pro bono service with the WBF!

The WBF Awarded $100,000 Grant from the Cummings Foundation

Cummings Foundation

(left to right) WBF Executive Director, Patricia Comfort with Cummings Properties Communications Director, Joyce Vyriotes and WBF Director of Strategic Partnerships, Rebecca Cohen at the 2017 Cummings $100K for 100 Grant Winner Celebration

In June, the Women’s Bar Foundation (WBF) was one of 100 local nonprofits to receive a grant of $100,000 from the Cummings Foundation’s “$100K for 100” program. The WBF was chosen from a total of 549 applicants, during a competitive review process.

The grant will support the WBF Family Law Project for Battered Women which empowers low-income survivors of domestic violence to end the cycle of abuse by providing high quality legal counseling and representation in their family law matters. The Family Law Project provides counsel and representation to more than 350 survivors of domestic violence each year.

“This grant comes at a pivotal moment for our organization, as we work to implement a three year expansion plan that will grow our family law practice by 20%, increasing services to survivors of domestic violence,” said Patricia Comfort.

Through the “$100K for 100” initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings of Winchester, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages more than 10 million square feet of space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

For more information, read our press release.


Thank you to Our Capacity Building Partners:

Wolf Greenfield






Additional Thanks to Our Corporate Partner:

The Women's Bar Foundation is dedicated to ensuring access to justice for low-income women. We create a community committed to providing free legal assistance to low-income women and their families.
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