The Independence Foundation has awarded third-year Temple Law students Lily Austin and Alexandra Robinson two-year Public Interest Law Fellowships to fund their work with two vital service organizations: Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Project Home.

image of a smiling woman with white skin and light brown hair, wearing business attireAs an Independence Fellow at Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Lily Austin will implement a project to address collateral consequences of contact with the criminal justice system in Montgomery County, especially in the underserved Pottstown area. She will also work closely with Montgomery Public Defenders to help bridge the gap between the civil and criminal defense worlds. Austin has been engaging in collaborative legal work for over five years, including time spent learning to sing about taxes in Spanish in North Carolina in a farmworker unit of a legal services organization. “I am passionate about collaborative and community-based legal work, and believe this type of work is necessary for helping communities access justice,” she said. “I am very excited to start working with Montgomery County Public Defenders and other community partners to reduce the harmful collateral impacts that contact with the justice system often has on families and communities.”

image of a smiling woman with brown skin and black hair, wearing glasses and business attireAlexandra Robinson will use her Fellowship to work with clients who access social services through Project HOME’s Hub of Hope. For these uniquely vulnerable clients, current housing instability and poor health outcomes are often due to a combination of unmet medical needs as well as unmet social needs, many of which are legal in nature. Through this fellowship, Robinson will work as part of an interdisciplinary team of advocates by offering civil legal assistance that addresses the social determinants of health that impact long-term stability and overall well-being. “I am excited to begin this fellowship with the Legal Clinic for Disabled as a supporter of the Civil Gideon Movement,” she said. “I want to be a part of the solution to the homelessness crisis in Philadelphia by focusing on low-income folks whose disabilities exacerbate their struggles with income insecurity.”

About the Independence Foundation

The Independence Foundation is a private, not-for-profit philanthropic organization serving Philadelphia and its surrounding Pennsylvania counties. The Foundation’s mission is to support organizations that provide services to people who do not ordinarily have access to them. With a strong focus on health, the Foundation invests in people and programs that enrich the life experiences of the residents of the Philadelphia area. In addition to health care, the Foundation extends its funding to human services, legal aid and arts & culture, building on the belief that a region that promotes physical well-being, provides equal access to services, values justice, and appreciates the arts will thrive for generations to come.