2018 Social Justice Uncorked

July 12, 2018

A festive spirit filled the air as more than 300 guests arrived at SMRLS’ 11th annual Social Justice Uncorked fundraiser at Target Field on June 14, 2018.

As guests mingled during the reception, they enjoyed a full view of the ballpark, selfie opportunities with Twins’ mascot TC Bear, and music played by the Central High School Jazz Ensemble. Guests indulged in upscale fan food, flavorful non-alcoholic mocktails, and a variety of wine, craft beer, and spirits tastings.

Uncorked featured a series of exciting raffles this year, offering guests the chance to win an array of exclusive prizes. The “Briggs Bucket Raffle” included seven buckets containing prizes ranging from fine wine to Twins and Wild tickets. 


The Uncorked Raffle held the most anticipated attraction of the night; the top prize included tickets to a performance of the hit musical Hamilton in Minneapolis. Congratulations to Campaign for Legal Aid Committee member Bernie Dusich for taking home the prize!


board pic.jpgSMRLS CEO Jessie Nicholson with Board member Gail Olson and Board President Matt Benda.

Meghan Maes, a SMRLS Supervising Attorney in Mankato, delivered a heartfelt presentation to kick off the evening’s program. Meghan began volunteering with SMRLS nine years ago during her first year of law school before becoming a SMRLS staff attorney. In her speech, Meghan touched on SMRLS’ 100+ year history of legal aid and the importance of the client impact-focused legal services we provide.

Colonel Kurt Johnson once again led the annual live auction. Guests placed bids on prizes including Timberwolves and Vikings tickets, a guided Muskie fishing outing, a trip to Napa Valley, and more. Our most successful auction to date, the 2018 live auction brought in $20,000.

Thanks to the generous contributions of our guests and sponsors, we raised $183,000 to fund our legal work! This record breaking year achieved a 26% increase in revenue from Social Justice Uncorked in 2017.

In efforts to increase revenue, SMRLS’ Campaign for Legal Aid fundraising committee challenged the Board of Directors to contribute to Uncorked this year. By reaching a 100% participation rate, the Board’s contributions surpassed $2,000, averaging more than $100 per board member. Support from several Board members’ firms and organizations totaled an additional $20,000 in sponsorships.

2019 Uncorked SMRLS Part 1-2019 Uncorked SMRLS-0005.jpg

"We are so pleased to have had 100% Board participation this year for our largest fundraiser, Social Justice Uncorked,” Steve Kirsch, CLA Chair, said. “We look forward to continued strong support from the SMRLS Board for our Campaign for Legal Aid."

We offer a special thanks to our staff, volunteers, and corporate and beverage sponsors for making this event such a success.

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Alliance Bank
Ballard Spahr, LLP
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP
Briggs and Morgan, PA
Ciresi Conlin, LLP
Faegre Baker Daniels
Fox Rothschild, LLP
Fredrikson & Byron, PA
Greenberg Traurig
Greene Espel, PLLP
Gustafson Gluek, PLLC
Larson King, LLP
Mairs & Power
Maslon, LLP
Merchant & Gould, P.C.
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company
MSBA New Lawyers Section
Olander Law Group
Robins Kaplan, LLP
SiebenCarey Personal Injury Law
Thomson Reuters
UnitedHealth Group
Walsh & Gaertner, PA
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