Joel D. Fedder and his wife, Ellen, have recently pledged one million dollars to support the Environmental Law Program. Joel Fedder is of counsel for Fedder & Garten P.A., in Baltimore.
This generous gift from the Fedders, long-time friends of the program, will endow two initiatives they have previously funded: the Fedder Lecture and Dinner, which brings an outside scholar to the school to discuss prominent environmental issues; and the Fedder Scholars Program, which provides grants for students to participate in the annual IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium.
Last year, five students presented papers during the colloquium at the University of Waikota in New Zealand. This summer, six students will present papers to this international gathering of environmental law scholars at the Universidad Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain.
The Fedder's’ generosity goes well beyond funding these initiatives.
The additional funding generated by the Fedder endowment will support the Environmental Law Clinic. Currently, the Clinic’s staff of four attorneys is funded through annual grants, which are essential to the Clinic’s successful operation. While the continuation of these grants is imperative, and the program’s commitment to these grantors remains steadfast, endowed funding from the Fedders and others will become increasingly necessary as the Environmental Law Clinic aspires to recruit senior attorneys to join the team and continue the important work of protecting Maryland’s environment.
“We appreciate Joel and Ellen’s forward-thinking first step toward permanent, endowed funding for the Environmental Law Clinic,” notes Robert Percival, professor and director of the Environmental Law Program. “This endowment is truly a transformative gift for the program.”
Fedder cites many reasons for his generosity toward the program. First, is his passion for environmentalism and, specifically, his desire for society to address climate change. For years, Fedder has studied the science of climate change and lectured on the subject to a variety of audiences.
Understanding the long-term importance of addressing climate change, Fedder has sought both to inspire and to support environmental law students whose career goal is to be “a friend and advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves, namely the flora and fauna that populate our beautiful Planet Earth.” Another reason Fedder cites is the “joy” of developing young attorneys and the satisfaction of making a difference in the career paths of Maryland Carey Law students.
Fedder also wants to inspire others to give to the law school. As a member of the law school’s Board of Visitors, he has worked hard to increase the financial support available to Maryland Carey Law and has asked other philanthropic supporters to follow in his footsteps—to find some legal issue they are passionate about and support students who share that same passion.
Over-arching all of these reasons is a simple maxim: “success is best when shared.”
Fedder has consistently advocated by example and, in announcing his gift to the Board of Visitors, noted the following:
“Board members, what are our collective duties and responsibilities as Board members? I would ask that you ponder that question as did I and respond appropriately each in your own way. Certainly gift giving is critical to the mission of our law school. The amount of a gift, while certainly important, is not the issue; it is your participation that is critical to our mission and that should be 100%.”
“Joel’s work as an advocate for the environment and our law school is inspiring. His support of the Environmental Law Program is an honor,” said Percival.
"The Environmental Law Program is deeply grateful to Joel and Ellen Fedder for their gift, which will inspire and support future generations of law students as well as the Clinic’s work to protect the environment. We hope that Joel’s words and deeds will also inspire our alumni and friends to deepen their ties with the Environmental Law Program.”