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VIP in Action Published April 2, 2020

A Letter from Sophie Bryan

Dear friends and partners:

On behalf of the whole team at VIP, we hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy.

Before turning to some personal news, I’d like to share three experiences this week that drove home for me the strength of VIP’s community and service model.

First, a final read-through of our forthcoming 2019 Annual Report. In addition to being cheered, once again, by the significant increase in cases placed last year – 1,016 total, a new record! – I was awe-struck by the four case stories. Each one spotlights one or more volunteer attorneys partnering with clients to achieve justice, having been connected by a VIP team member. In doing so, family homes were saved, family safety ensured, and family income secured. More than ever, we can see how much these results matter.

Second, a voicemail message from a VIP client, Mr. Brown (a pseudonym), who made a financial contribution to VIP. I’d sent Mr. Brown a thank-you letter and he was calling to express thanks for both the thank-you and the legal services he’d received from VIP, and to say he planned to make a donation annually.

Third, the trending hashtag #thebestofus. While surely apt for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, it applies as well to VIP’s volunteers, clients, and staff team. Even before this current crisis, these folks embodied core values of compassion, collaboration, and service. In the coming weeks and months, these traits will be integral to recovery and repair.

Now for the personal news. In early March, I accepted another role – a newly-created position at The Pew Charitable Trusts here in Philadelphia to build and lead a local policy advocacy function – and will finish my time at VIP on April 7. It’s been an extraordinary privilege to serve at VIP and, in doing so, to benefit and learn from your advocacy, partnership, and leadership. I am forever indebted to VIP’s community.

As detailed in this message from our Board President Alex Braden, VIP is in wonderfully capable hands during this transition. I look forward to seeing the new heights to which VIP rises and will be cheering you all on every step of the way.

With thanks,

Sophie Bryan
Executive Director