About the Kansas Bar Foundation

On March 15, 1957, the Kansas Bar Foundation was incorporated under the laws of Kansas. This was reported to the Kansas Bar Association on April 25, 1957, by L.J. Bond, El Dorado, Chairman of the Bar Foundation Committee. The report made at the annual meeting was printed in the August, 1957, issue of the Bar Journal as part of the proceedings. Here is a sample of what was included in that issue:

The Kansas Bar Foundation is a nonprofit corporation. It now has a board of trustees consisting of nine members elected or designated at the 1957 annual meeting of the Kansas Bar Association.

The following are quotations recorded in 1957 by the Foundation’s Secretary & Treasurer:

“The Trustees of the Kansas Bar Foundation met in Topeka on Friday, May 24, 1957 and the following officers were elected.” L. J. Bond, President, El Dorado;

C.E. Chalfant, Vice President, Hutchinson;
John W. Shuart, Secretary and Treasurer, Topeka.

“It was announced that several gifts to the Foundation had been received and President Bond urged that members of the Bar Association of the State of Kansas consider making gifts to the Foundation either for specific purposes or to be allocated for such purposes as will be determined by the Trustees. The Foundation will attempt to follow the wishes of donors making gifts for specific purposes but it will be necessary to have unencumbered gifts also in order that special projects may be carried on within the Foundation’s by-laws.

To gain suggestions from the Association membership as to initial Foundation projects, President Bond is sending a letter to each member of the Association inviting suggestions and setting out several appropriate projects as formulated by the Trustees.

It is hoped that each member will study the by-laws, make recommendations, and most important—make a donation to the KANSAS BAR FOUNDATION.”

Original Trustees of the Kansas Bar Foundation Members elected April, 1957:
Walter G. Thiele, Topeka L.J. Bond, El Dorado Robert E. Russell, Topeka Robert G. Braden, Wichita C. E. Chalfant, Hutchinson James E. Taylor, Sharon Springs
Members by virtue of office held:
O. B. Edison, Topeka Jay W. Scovel, Independence John W. Shuart, Topeka

In 1980, the Kansas Bar Foundation held ground breaking ceremonies at the Kansas Law Center (home to the Kansas Bar Association and the Kansas Bar Foundation) at 1200 SW Harrison St. in Topeka. In 2007, the KBA and KBF were outgrowing the space. The building, owned by the Foundation, needed expansion and technological improvements. Through the Raising the Bar Campaign, Kansas attorneys and firms made it possible to enhance the facility and to expand its reach for funding programs that support access to justice.

In June 2017, the Foundation celebrated its 60th year. Fellows celebrated the occasion at a dinner in Manhattan with a fifties theme. In November of the same year, the Foundation paid off the mortgage to the building and held a celebration to rename the building the Robert L. Gernon Law Center in honor of the late Justice Gernon. Numerous memorial gifts and a substantial gift from the Gernon family made this possible. More about the Robert L. Gernon Law Center

Today, the Kansas Bar Foundation Board of Trustees has 26 members and they meet four times a year.