Nan Heald, who spent many years functioning to deliver significant legal providers to the bad in Maine and to tackle systemic limitations to justice, has died.
Heald served as the govt director of Pine Tree Lawful Assistance for much more than 30 a long time. The nonprofit presents civil lawful aid to quite a few, which include all those who are at danger of foreclosure or eviction, survivors of domestic violence, farmworkers, veterans and indigenous people. In 2020, Pine Tree worked on far more than 6,300 situations impacting additional than 15,000 people.
Pine Tree Authorized introduced Heald’s dying but did not offer her age. Board President Dan Emery explained Heald was surrounded by loved ones and good friends when she died Thursday from problems associated to most cancers.
“Most importantly, Nan cared,” Emery explained. “Her extensive, achieved occupation arrives down to a single point – serving to men and women. Her numerous capabilities were suggests to that stop. I really don’t believe the awards she won meant as significantly to her as the victories of Pine Tree clientele who had nowhere else to convert. She was a joy and an inspiration to perform with, and we will be guided by her case in point.”
Heald co-wrote a Maine Voices column in 2017 that spoke to her mission: “When we say the Pledge of Allegiance, we close with “justice for all.’ We want civil legal aid applications like Pine Tree Legal Guidance to ensure that Maine is giving justice for all, and not just to those who can find the money for it.”
Heald grew up in Oquossoc in Maine’s western mountains. She graduated from Smith University in 1977 and George Washington University Regulation University in 1980. She worked for the federal government and in non-public exercise for 5 many years, becoming a member of Pine Tree Legal Support in 1985. Her primary obligation was to correct the exclusion of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs from the 1980 Maine Indian Statements Settlement Act. That adjust was inevitably obtained through federal laws.
In 1990, she grew to become government director of the nonprofit. Heald noticed know-how as a way to maximize accessibility to legal assist, and the organization developed ptla.org, a site with self-assistance resources, in 1996. It was the 1st legal help web page in the place to contain self-assist resources – and they’re even now out there at no price tag to Mainers who want answers to a huge assortment of queries, such as crucial information and facts about housing, public advantages and accessibility to the courts through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heald also oversaw new programs that expanded legal support access for vulnerable populations. Pine Tree formed Children Legal, the state’s first and only legislation job that focuses on the educational and lawful desires of kids. It launched applications for minimal-cash flow veterans, which includes a clinical-legal partnership at Maine’s Togus Veterans Affairs Health care Centre and StatesideLegal.org, a countrywide website for veterans and company associates. Under Heald’s leadership, Pine Tree also expanded aid to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and created initiatives which include a clinic for very low-revenue taxpayers.
Throughout Heald’s tenure, the nonprofit’s funds grew from $2.8 million to $7 million, increasing its grants and other funding resources. Pine Tree now has a staff members of 75, including 47 attorneys and 15 paralegals. It is headquartered in Portland, but maintains 5 regional offices across the state.
“Through the artistic use of funding alternatives and other leveraged assist, her leadership has enabled Pine Tree to reinforce and develop lawful expert services to various customer populations and in new locations of legislation, and to make justice a lot more accessible for all the individuals of Maine,” the nonprofit reported in a news release.
Heald served on a lot of countrywide and condition committees and was frequently acknowledged for her operate. In 2011, the White Household named her a Champion of Improve. In 2015, she acquired the American Bar Association’s Grassroots Advocacy Award, and in 2018 turned a Fellow of the American Bar Basis. She also gained honors and awards from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Maine Justice Basis, the Maine Veterans Coordinating Committee and the Maine Judicial Department.
Pine Tree announced past month 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.