About Robert's Fund
This non-profit family foundation was created in 2008 in memory of Robert A. Lustbader, who through his words, acts, service, and kindness personified care and respect for others: basic tenets of civility. Sensitivity to others, ethical behavior, social etiquette, and philanthropy are essential components of civility.
The roots of Robert’s Fund are found in the story of two brothers, Alfred and Robert, raised in Brooklyn, New York, during the Great Depression to abide by the Golden Rule and treat others as they would like to be treated. In 2008, Alfred created Robert’s Fund to honor the legacy of his beloved brother, who walked the world in service to others, exhibiting care and concern for family, friends, and neighbors, and contributing positively to the communities in which he lived.
Robert was a caring brother, husband, father, colleague, and friend. He contributed to numerous charities that promoted humane treatment of animals. He supported the poor and assisted the young. He tutored refugees. And he worked for peace."
Professor Paula Lustbader, Robert's Fund President
Why focus on the legal profession?
Our initiatives focus on increasing civility within the legal profession. Lawyers influence society. Those who serve as judges and politicians create and administer our laws and shape societal values. Others play vital roles in private industry. Even when they are not in leadership positions, lawyers are often the ones who negotiate and set policy for businesses and other organizations. Lawyers also work with individual clients to foster commerce and prevent conflict in transactional practices, resolve conflict in litigation, or counsel those in legal distress. Lawyers often serve as leaders and role models in their communities, either in their capacity as lawyers or simply as concerned citizens.
Civility is more than politeness, compassion, and integrity. Civility is a set of attitudes, behaviors, and skills that call upon us to respect others, to remain open-minded, and to engage in honest and constructive discourse. This enables us to reduce transaction costs and realize better results. Civility benefits business by creating satisfied clients and reducing costs. It benefits the practitioner by reducing stress and promoting healthy relationships. And civility promotes justice by de-escalating conflict and inspiring pro bono service. We behave civilly by actively listening to others, by understanding our own biases and assumptions, and by treating others as we would like to be treated. In order to understand our inherent biases, we need to engage in difficult but necessary conversations about race, gender, otherness, and values. Civility calls upon us to advocate effectively without losing our humanity.
Finally, we behave civilly when we commit ourselves to a cause and challenge ourselves to make a contribution to our world.
How we do it
Robert’s Fund programs increase professional effectiveness because civility positively impacts
- Our quality of life
by reducing stress and enhancing health
- Our community
by strengthening relationships
- Our environment
by committing to a healthy planet
- Our world
by nurturing compassion and peace
Based on these premises our programs strive to elevate among participants their levels of consciousness, creativity, and community– elements essential to the pursuit of civility.
- Consciousness increases our understanding of the ways our own emotions may cause us to behave uncivilly, of whether we are living in harmony with our values, and of how our actions impact others.
- Creativity provides an outlet for self-discovery and reflection, an opportunity to see different perspectives, and flexibility in finding solutions to problems and resolutions to conflicts.
- Community enables us to avoid isolation and connect with our fellow human beings, encourages us to recognize that the benefits we enjoy should be balanced by service to others, and enhances our ability to make a difference by joining forces with our neighbors.