Monte Carlo-style fundraiser returns to Rochester Arts Center; legal aid agency sees jump in service needs – Post Bulletin

ROCHESTER – It’s been a long time coming, but in some ways the timing of the upcoming Olmsted County Legal Aid fundraiser couldn’t be felt more needed.

“The demand for civil legal aid has honestly never been higher,” said LAOC Executive Director Karen Fairbairn Nath of the planned Oct. 4, 2022 event at the Rochester Art Center.

The “Night in Monte Carlo” fundraiser, which will feature jazz music and gambling for charity, was scheduled for early 2020 but was canceled when the first COVID cases hit the county.

A shortened outdoor version was held last year but Fairbairn Nath said numbers were fewer than expected, leaving the organization on a tight budget as demands have increased.

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“Requests for service are up 64% over the past year, and what’s more, they’re up another 65% this year,” she said, noting the increase in domestic violence cases.

Last year, Legal Assistance of Olmsted County provided legal assistance to over 1,100 people through direct representation, its volunteer attorney and clinic program.

“We’re running at full capacity,” added Fairbairn Nath. “It’s awful when you tell a domestic violence victim that you don’t have a lawyer available even though they qualify.”

She estimates that the agency rejects approximately 65% ​​of qualified applicants.

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“The fundraiser is really, really important so we can potentially hire another attorney,” she said.

In addition to assisting with domestic violence cases, Olmsted County Legal Assistance provides legal representation for low-income residents on a variety of civil matters, including eviction cases and clinics designed to assist with a variety of family law matters.

Traditionally, the organization organizes an annual fundraiser to boost performance. While 2020 hosted a virtual 5K and last year’s scaled-down version of the Art Center gathering drew nearly 100 people, Fairbairn Nath said she hopes to entertain a crowd on Oct. 4.

“This is really our first year back,” she said of the event.

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The activity starts at 5pm with a cocktail hour featuring a chef’s Italian charcuterie platter and a pasta bar is open from 6pm to 7:30pm, drinks are available at a bar.

The Driftless Jazz Ensemble will provide background music as participants visit and bid on each other’s silent auction items, with a live auction beginning at 7:00 p.m

After the live auction, the music continues, with dancing and charity gambling to keep attendees entertained.

Tickets, priced at US$100 each, are available online through the organization’s website at, along with sponsorship and other donation opportunities.

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