The Spirit of Justice Award recognizes those who embody the “spirit” of the mission and work of Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS) and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA). This year’s recipient, Kathleen Cannon, has dedicated her thirty-five year career to improving the lives of low income, at-risk, and vulnerable individuals and families in our community.
As president and CEO of United Way of Broward County (UWBC), Kathleen has played an integral role in establishing and expanding partnerships with LAS and CCLA to provide vital legal services to veterans through its one of a kind pilot program MISSION UNITED. The alliance, forged over six years ago, ensures that responsive and effective legal counsel is available in all areas of civil law to veteran households in Broward County.
The need for pro bono legal services is one of the top requests from veterans and their families. To date, 6,364 veterans have been assisted by 423 Broward County lawyers who have volunteered to provide pro bono legal services for veterans and their families. The value of those donated legal services exceeds $1.193 million.
In addition to pro bono legal counsel, MISSION UNITED provides support to veterans and their families in the areas of education, employment, housing, physical and mental health care, as well as financial assistance.
Two years ago, Kathleen successfully advocated to United Way Worldwide for a national expansion of the Broward County MISSION UNITED project. Since the national launch on Veterans Day 2016, twenty-one United Way programs across the country have implemented MISSION UNITED projects in their communities, with many more in the planning stages.
Prior to joining UWBC’s leadership, Kathleen was the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Broward House for more than nine years. She started her career in direct social services as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, which brings a unique perspective to her leadership style. She has worked with a multitude of populations including people with chronic, persistent mental illness, substance abuse, runaway teens, persons with physical disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS and children with disabilities.
“Through our partnership with Legal Aid, United Way of Broward County’s MISSION UNITED supports our military veterans as they re-acclimate to civilian life. The pro-bono legal services offered are having a life-changing impact on those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. We are so proud of our MISSION UNITED program and the community partners that support it,” explained Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO, United Way of Broward County.
Kathleen, a passionate and compassionate champion for veterans and their families, and all families in need, wholly embodies the spirit of justice that is the fabric of Legal Aid programs in Broward. The Spirit of Justice Award will be presented at the 17th Annual For the Public Good fundraising event on Thursday, October 25, 2018. For event details visit BrowardLegalAid.org/forthepublicgood.