Nan Heald, who used a long time doing work to present essential authorized products and services to the lousy in Maine and to handle systemic obstacles to justice, has died.
Heald served as the executive director of Pine Tree Legal Support for much more than 30 a long time. The nonprofit provides civil lawful aid to quite a few, together with those who are at danger of foreclosures or eviction, survivors of domestic violence, farmworkers, veterans and indigenous individuals. In 2020, Pine Tree worked on a lot more than 6,300 cases impacting more than 15,000 folks.
Pine Tree Authorized introduced Heald’s dying but didn’t give her age. Board President Dan Emery claimed Heald was surrounded by family members and pals when she died Thursday from problems linked to cancer.
“Most importantly, Nan cared,” Emery explained. “Her very long, accomplished job comes down to one issue – supporting men and women. Her numerous abilities were means to that finish. I really do not believe the awards she gained meant as significantly to her as the victories of Pine Tree customers who experienced nowhere else to change. She was a joy and an inspiration to work with, and we will be guided by her example.”
Heald co-wrote a Maine Voices column in 2017 that spoke to her mission: “When we say the Pledge of Allegiance, we shut with “justice for all.’ We need to have civil lawful assist plans like Pine Tree Authorized Help to guarantee that Maine is offering justice for all, and not just to these who can afford it.”
Heald grew up in Oquossoc in Maine’s western mountains. She graduated from Smith Higher education in 1977 and George Washington College Regulation University in 1980. She worked for the federal govt and in personal follow for 5 several years, joining Pine Tree Authorized Assistance in 1985. Her primary obligation was to right the exclusion of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs from the 1980 Maine Indian Statements Settlement Act. That improve was at some point accomplished as a result of federal laws.
In 1990, she became government director of the nonprofit. Heald noticed technological know-how as a way to maximize accessibility to lawful assist, and the firm produced ptla.org, a web page with self-assistance methods, in 1996. It was the to start with legal help site in the region to include self-assist assets – and they’re nonetheless available at no cost to Mainers who require answers to a huge selection of concerns, like significant info about housing, public added benefits and entry to the courts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heald also oversaw new applications that expanded authorized support access for vulnerable populations. Pine Tree fashioned Children Authorized, the state’s 1st and only law project that focuses on the academic and authorized requires of young children. It introduced packages for minimal-cash flow veterans, like a healthcare-legal partnership at Maine’s Togus Veterans Affairs Professional medical Centre and StatesideLegal.org, a countrywide site for veterans and services customers. Below Heald’s leadership, Pine Tree also expanded support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and made assignments which include a clinic for minimal-income taxpayers.
Throughout Heald’s tenure, the nonprofit’s budget grew from $2.8 million to $7 million, growing its grants and other funding resources. Pine Tree now has a personnel of 75, together with 47 attorneys and 15 paralegals. It is headquartered in Portland, but maintains five regional workplaces throughout the point out.
“Through the resourceful use of funding possibilities and other leveraged assist, her management has enabled Pine Tree to improve and develop legal expert services to various customer populations and in new spots of law, and to make justice much more accessible for all the people of Maine,” the nonprofit said in a news release.
Heald served on quite a few nationwide and point out committees and was frequently acknowledged for her operate. In 2011, the White Dwelling named her a Winner of Modify. In 2015, she gained the American Bar Association’s Grassroots Advocacy Award, and in 2018 became a Fellow of the American Bar Basis. She also been given honors and awards from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Maine Justice Foundation, the Maine Veterans Coordinating Committee and the Maine Judicial Branch.
Pine Tree declared final thirty day period that Heald would retire this spring. She is survived by her husband, Frank D’Alessandro, her daughter, Bei Heald, stepchildren Daniel and Katie D’Alessandro and their spouses, and two grandchildren.