Following Mary Pat

Jane Hanson Co-Founder of Partners for Women and Justice a New Jersey Hero

photoAlt It seems very fitting to be able to recognize a hero like Jane Hanson during Women's History Month.... she is a prime example of a woman who set out to help other women in desperate situations. Jane left her job as a corporate lawyer and founded Partners for Women and Justice (Partners), a Montclair, New Jersey based nonprofit organization with the mission of helping low-income, abused women, and their children, by providing them with free legal assistance in domestic violence cases and family law matters. In 2002, Jane and a colleague started Partners with $7,000 and donated furniture and computers. Jane persevered and the organization survived on a wing and a prayer. Jane served in every capacity - answering phones, assisting clients, managing the computers and designing databases. She recruited family lawyers to donate time and young lawyers willing to be trained and work pro bono. Her vision and dedication never waned and she raised both awareness and funds for the organization. By 2005, her amazing efforts had secured several grants, hired staff and expanded the board of trustees. Partners has helped thousands of women and children. The organization has trained and worked with several hundred pro bono attorneys who have donated over $1 million in free legal services. Today when I visited Jane at Partners, I had the pleasure of meeting all the members of her staff and some of her founders/donors that help make the work that Partners does on a daily basis a reality for the women who need it. I also met two of their clients, who were brave enough to sit down with me and share their incredibly personal stories about what brought them to Partners. The abuse that they, and so many women throughout the country, have had to endure is the reason why non-profits like Partners are so important. I thank Jane and her staff for the great work they do to help women throughout our state in dire situations. To learn more about Jane and Partners for Women and Justice, please visit their website at http://www.pfwj.org/