About the Civility Center
We seek to foster civility in our society to positively impact
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 our participants’ 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.
Our initiatives focus on increasing civility within the legal profession because lawyers powerfully influence society. Legal professionals profoundly influence society. Those who serve as judges and politicians create and administer our laws and shape societal values. Other legal professionals 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. Even outside their formal work, their behavior often sets the tenor of corporate, political, and social interactions. Therefore, members of the profession serve as exemplars of appropriate behavior in our society. When they behave uncivilly, they undermine our justice system in a variety of ways, most notably by exacerbating conflict, thereby increasing costs and diminishing public confidence in our justice system. However, when they behave with civility, they demonstrably improve outcomes for the people that they serve and for themselves.
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.
Since 2010, Robert’s Fund has partnered with Seattle University School of Law to offer continuing legal education seminars in Seattle and in Italy and to offer custom programs for organizations of legal professionals and law schools. In 2017 we became the Civility Center for Law at Seattle University School of Law, which is completely funded by the Civility Fund.