Maria FoscarinisSANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 14, 2016— The founder of a center that uses the power of the law to prevent and combat homelessness will be the recipient of the 2016 Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize from Santa Clara University School of Law. The award honors top legal advocates who have used their careers to help alleviate injustice and inequity.

The Alexander Law Prize will be presented to Maria Foscarinis, founder of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, at a ceremony on March 21, at Santa Clara University’s Adobe Lodge. A reception will be held at 5 p.m., with the presentation of the award and a discussion taking place at 6 p.m.

Foscarinis has advocated for solutions to homelessness at the national level since 1985. The Law Center uses litigation and advocacy to prevent discrimination against homeless individuals; create homes through unused government property; assure education rights for homeless children, and more.

“Maria Foscarinis is a shining example of what can be accomplished when someone with formidable talent and drive decides to put those gifts to use on behalf of those who might otherwise be invisible,” said Santa Clara University School of Law Dean Lisa Kloppenberg. “We are very pleased to honor her decades of work for the homeless.”

Foscarinis is a primary architect of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, the first major federal legislation permitting public buildings to be used to assist homeless. She has litigated to secure a variety of legal rights of homeless persons, and has written widely on legal and policy issues affecting homeless persons. She writes, speaks and lectures regularly on law and homelessness, conducts trainings on legal issues and advocacy strategies, and is frequently quoted in print and electronic media.

She was previously a litigator at the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, where her pro bono work on behalf of homeless people spurred her to establish the Law Center to end homelessness in America.

“I am humbled and thankful to the Alexander family for this award,” said Foscarinis. “This work started for me when I was a child, hearing stories of how my family suffered during the German occupation of Greece. It created a drive inside me to ensure no one should suffer homelessness or such extreme vulnerability,” she added.

Foscarinis received her undergraduate degree in philosophy from Barnard College; an M.A. in philosophy from Columbia University; and a law degree from Columbia Law School.

About the Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize
Katharine and George Alexander endowed the Law Prize to be awarded annually. The purpose of the prize is to recognize a person from anywhere around the world who has used his or her skill, knowledge, and abilities in the field of law to correct an injustice in a significant manner. The hope of the donors is that the Prize will not only give the public a higher regard for the legal profession but will also be an inspiration within the legal profession and a recognition of the good work of so many in the law. For more information see

About Santa Clara University School of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. Santa Clara Law offers students an academically rigorous program including certificates in high tech law, international law, public interest and social justice law, and privacy law, as well as numerous graduate and joint degree options. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Law is nationally distinguished for its faculty engagement, preparation for practice, and top-ranked programs in intellectual property. For more information, see

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