The Milestone Foundation offers low-interest funding to plaintiffs across the country, but what makes us extra proud is the work we’ve done to support families here in our own backyard. Over the past five years, The Milestone Foundation has provided over $300,000 to Western New York residents to help them make ends meet while they pursue a lawsuit.

Like the rest of our city, we have been devastated by the news of several violent attacks this year. In February, one student brutally attacked another at McKinley High School. A 14-year-old boy was beaten and stabbed multiple times, putting him in critical condition.

His mother filed a legal claim against Buffalo Public Schools for its negligence in providing a safe and secure environment at McKinley High School. But as her son healed from his injuries, the conditions at home were not the best for his recovery. His family found new housing, and they needed help furnishing it. That’s where our Foundation was able to help. We provided low-interest pre-settlement funding to the family, so they could make their accommodations comfortable and supportive of the boy’s needs.

“We’re humbled by this experience to have an organization like Milestone on our side to even afford us [funding] of such an amount,” the mother said. “It was substantial in helping us move into our home comfortably.”

The boy had been living at his grandparents’ house for a while before he and his mother found a housing arrangement where they could both stay. “He has always wanted to have his own room and a comfortable bed,” his mother said. “He needed his own area. That has been the most exciting part for me, is for him to have his own room now.”

The situation they are enduring comes with physical and emotional pain that most of us cannot imagine. And while nothing will take back the devastation that has occurred in their lives, we know that the low-cost funding from our Foundation at least provides a smoother journey as they pursue justice. No one should have to choose between following through with their lawsuit and covering their living expenses.

The Milestone Foundation also helped a couple in North Tonawanda, who were struck by another car in a parking lot and severely injured. After undergoing multiple surgeries, the wife left her job to care for her injured husband. With their daily routine in shambles and both spouses unemployed, they were struggling to make ends meet. Funding from the Foundation allowed them to keep their home.

“Having an ethical funding option means everything to our local injured clients and their families,” said Joel Feroleto, an attorney in Buffalo. “And as their advocates, it’s a relief to us that they have a nonprofit doing right by them when they need it most.” Several of Joel’s injured clients have received advances from The Milestone Foundation. One client had sustained an injury in a car accident that required surgery and prevented her from working for a while. She needed a relatively small advance to make ends meet while Joel resolved her lawsuit. The Foundation’s funding with simple interest helped Joel’s client get by while she awaited her settlement.

“Besides our low interest rate, another aspect of the Foundation that sets us apart from for-profit lenders is that we aim to provide plaintiffs with only the amount of funding they need,” said Erin Waas, Executive Director of The Milestone Foundation. “That way, their payback responsibility is as small as possible once settlement arrives.”

In our corner of the civil justice space, it’s deeply meaningful to us to be able to lend a hand to our neighbors. We’ll continue to be there to help when plaintiffs, both in our state and across the country, need help making ends meet.