Richard A. Soden, a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP, a prominent corporate lawyer, and a past president of both the BBA and the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, took office September 1 as President of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the BBA.
Mr. Soden's broad background in public interest work has included serving as chair of the United South End Settlements and the Judge Baker Children's Center. He is a past chair of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the BBA.
Over the past six years, the BBF has gone beyond IOLTA distribution and is evolving into a major grant-making organization. Mr. Soden believes that the BBF is essential to the Boston legal community as it highlights the philanthropy of lawyers in a very visible fashion.
"All the good work that lawyers do is not often seen by the outside world," Mr. Soden says. "The BBF is symbolic of the Bar standing up and serving a philanthropic purpose - restoring the sense of service that attracted many of us to the profession."
During his presidency, Mr. Soden says he will aim to have the BBF "give smarter" in an effort to truly develop relationships with its grantees. By "giving smarter," the BBF can tailor its gifts to the specific goals of each organization and help grantees leverage additional resources to make those goals a reality. Through this change, Mr. Soden says he hopes to "build the BBF as a steward of philanthropy and not simply a conduit."
One of the major ways the BBF is able to achieve its fundraising goals is through the annual John & Abigail Adams Benefit Ball, scheduled for November 13 at the Westin Copley Place. Mr. Soden views this year's honoree, William Van Faasen, Chairman and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc., as "the personification of the good corporate citizen."