About the Foundation
Established in 2003, the Public Interest Foundation is the 501(c)(3) non-profit affiliate of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California. The Foundation is proud of its past and ongoing efforts to promote public interest work in Southern California. Its mission is to organize, support, and promote public interest activities for the benefit of the South Asian community and the Southern California community at large. The Foundation seeks to unite members and friends of the South Asian community over our shared commitment to public service, recognize the outstanding achievements of local South Asian lawyers and trailblazers and award grants to organizations and law students dedicated to serving the public interest.
The Foundation provides annual grants to organizations that serve South Asian communities, which play a vital role in allowing many worthwhile organizations to provide valuable services to under-served communities. In addition, the Foundation awards public interest fellowships to South Asian law students committed to public interest work, enabling distinguished law students to work for local public interest organizations during the summer. These fellowships have been successful in encouraging law school students to serve underprivileged individuals and communities and in promoting awareness of public interest issues that impact South Asians in particular. In its short existence, the Foundation has raised and disbursed nearly $100,000 in grants and fellowships to deserving organizations and law school students.
The Foundation hosts an Annual Banquet to celebrate public interest work in our community. The evening serves as an opportunity for all of us to come together, build relationships and renew our dedication to serving the public interest. The evening traditionally is highlighted by a keynote address from a distinguished guest. In the past, we have had the privilege of welcoming keynote speakers such as: Hastings School of Law Professor Vikram Amar, University of California, Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, civil rights lawyer Vanita Gupta, then-San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, KPFK Pacifica Radio host Sonali Kolhatkar, and Islamic Shura Council leader Shakeel Syed.