Scholarships for black women attending law school. A mentoring program that puts juvenile offenders on the
path to college. Free health screenings and education. Pro bono advice on housing issues and estate planning. All of
these programs are funded and supported by the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA) and much
of it has been made possible by the more than half a million dollars raised during Partner Lisa Collins’ three-year tenure
as the chair of GABWA’s signature fundraising event, the Glitter Gala & Auction.
GABWA recently honored Collins for her ground-breaking success as Gala Chair. Collins is a member of the GABWA
Executive Board and the longest-serving Gala Chair in the organization’s history. She steps down this year as Gala
Chair, having led the effort to raise more than $500,000 for the GABWA Foundation’s outreach efforts. Collins will
remain active in the Gala planning process, staying on as a “chair emeritus” to assist the incoming organizer. “It’s so
much work, but it’s wonderful for fundraising and for raising GABWA’s profile,” she said. Collins is not alone in her dedication to GABWA and its work. Partner Charlotte Combre is the vice president of the GABWA Foundation and Associate Ava Blake is the chair of the organization’s Intellectual Property Law Section. “Both have been invaluable to the success of the Gala and in service tothe GABWA Foundation,” Collins said.
Collins said that in addition to the law school scholarships, one of the most life-changing programs GABWA supports
is Sister2Sister®, in which the organization partners with the Fulton County Juvenile Court to provide mentoring and life
skills workshops to teenage girls convicted of nonviolent crime. “It’s been a great success. The majority of the girls in
the program go on to college and do not re-enter the court system,” Collins said. “And many of them are the first in their
families to attend college.”
In seeking corporate sponsorships for the Gala, Collins also notes that she has been able to build relationships with
many Georgia business executives and in-house counsel, having met with key leaders from Home Depot, Coca-Cola,
Mercedes-Benz and Delta, among others. GABWA also plans an annual trip for its members that
combines travel and legal education. Collins has joined her fellow members to visit Dubai, and just this summer,
Switzerland, where the group toured the Swiss Supreme Court and met the chief justice. GABWA was founded in 1981 and has an active membership of nearly 500 men and women. Its mission is to support and galvanize the power of black women attorneys, advocate for women and children, and empower communities.