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Member Spotlight: Charles Dunlap, Indiana Bar Foundation

Thursday, August 8, 2019
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Charles R. Dunlap, Executive Director, Indiana Bar Foundation

This member spotlight features Charles R. Dunlap, executive director of the Indiana Bar Foundation in Indianapolis.

What’s keeping you up at night?

Actually, quite a few things but consistently one concern is how a small organization like the Indiana Bar Foundation can adequately protect itself from hacking, cyber-attacks, and computer-based threats that continue to increase in frequency and sophistication.

What do you value most about IPA?

I am a member of several professional organizations and IPA consistently provides me with significant return on my membership investment. Of all the membership benefits, I think the one I value most is the opportunity for continued professional development and collaboration with peers in the philanthropic field. The educational and professional growth opportunities are consistently relevant and enlightening, and help to keep my organization up-to-date with best practices and emerging trends in the field.

What’s the biggest impact your organization has made this year?

In addition to the Indiana Bar Foundation’s annual grants to support civil legal services to low-income Hoosiers, we have also been very active in focusing on reforming the entire civil legal aid delivery system. We have been working extensively with the Indiana Supreme Court through the Coalition for Court Access to expand access to civil legal resources and redesign the civil legal system in Indiana to be more responsive to the needs of low-income Hoosiers. Our launch in the fall of 2018 of our new statewide web portal indianalegalhelp.org was a significant step towards that goal.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by so many people who I work with on a daily basis that are working to make something better for other people. I think this is why I have been involved in the philanthropic field throughout most of my career. The desire to help others is what drives many to enter philanthropy and I find this to be a powerful personal motivator to do may part to help make things better for other people.

What talent or superpower would you most like to have? 

Time-travel! I am a huge history nerd and the ability to see actual historical events (and future possibilities) would be an amazing power. Even if you couldn’t actually interact and shape events, the ability to see how historical events happened and the unrecorded small details that impacted things would be fascinating. 



About Charles

Charles is the executive director of the Indiana Bar Foundation in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has been in that position since 2001. He graduated cum laude from the Indiana University McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis in 1996. As the executive director of the Indiana Bar Foundation, Charles is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations and programs of the foundation, which includes administration of the Indiana Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA) program, grantmaking, and several civic education programs, including We the People and the Indiana High School Mock Trial program. 

Prior to joining the Indiana Bar Foundation, Charles was the assistant director of planned fiving for Indiana University Foundation in Bloomington, Indiana, where he worked on numerous complex charitable gifts involving a variety of trusts, bequests, insurance gifts, and gifts of real estate. Prior to his work at the IU Foundation, Charles was an associate in the Muncie, Indiana, law firm of DeFur, Voran, where his practice focused on estate planning, trust and probate administration, charitable gift planning, charitable organization law, and business law. 

Charles is a past president of the National Association of IOLTA Programs, treasurer of Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Indiana University Center for Civic Literacy, a member of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs Distinguished Alumni Council, and a past board member of the National Conference of Bar Foundations. Charles is also an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University’s School of Public & Environmental Affairs, a participant in the IU McKinney School of Law Military Commission Observation Project at Guantanamo Bay Cuba, and previously worked as a member of the timing and scoring staff of the Indy Car Series.


Do you have questions or ideas for collaboration? Reach out using IPA's Member Directory.

IPA's Member Spotlight Series

IPA Member Spotlights are written by IPA members to share their personality, purpose, and passion for philanthropy. Follow this series to connect with peers and find opportunities for collaboration.

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