At the time of his unexpected death in April 2010, Thomas J. Moyer served as Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court for nearly 24 years — the longest tenure of any sitting chief justice. In response, members of the Ohio State Bar Association discussed an initiative to raise funds in support of a lasting legacy that would embody the indomitable spirit of Thomas J. Moyer.
Collaboration quickly developed involving the Ohio State Bar Foundation, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and the Ohio Judicial Conference, to establish a fund in support of legal education through state-wide fellowships and a named professorship at the OSU Moritz College of Law.
Fellowships will be awarded to students and graduates who embrace Chief Justice Moyer’s dedication to integrity, fairness, open-mindedness, intellectual acumen, ethics, creativity, and decisiveness.
Goettler Associates was enlisted by the Committee to plan and implement a $1.3 million fund-raising campaign to establish an initial corpus for the fund. As a new venture, with no existing staff, structure, or prior fund-raising results, leadership and financial support was sought from the Committee members, and the governing boards of the Bar Association and Foundation.
The Legacy Fund Committee, OSBA and Foundation Boards collectively contributed more than $200,000 in support of the campaign. This demonstration of “family” support was a key factor in organizing the campaign. The next phase employed a law firm/legal community strategy that enlisted Metro Chairs for each of five metropolitan areas across the state. Ohio is home to several large law firms, and fund-raising counsel followed advice to contact these major firms at their headquarters. The Metro Chair approach was a success; and the law firm phase secured more than $700,000 toward the $1.3 million goal.
The final component of the campaign included financial appeals to businesses, corporations, and friends of Chief Justice Moyer from across the state of Ohio. With strong leadership from the Ohio Business Roundtable as well as The Columbus Partnership, a number of corporations pledged gifts to the campaign.
During a remarkable week in December, 2011, the Ohio Supreme Court held a ceremony to rename their home building in honor of Chief Justice Moyer. The Moyer Legacy Fund also held its second gala event and announced the $1.3 million initial goal had been secured. Congratulations to Barbara Howard, Steve Stover, Alison Belfrage and the members of the Moyer Legacy Fund for their impressive campaign victory. Goettler Associates, Inc. is honored to have served as their fund-raising counsel. Additional project information is available at www.goettler.com.