Sara E. Rios Memorial Fellowship Fund

94% of $200,000 goal
This campaign ended on December 31, 2021, but you can still make a gift to The University of Toledo by clicking here!
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Sara Rios, a lifelong fighter for justice.  A lawyer extraordinaire.
Written by Friends of Sara Rios

Six years ago this fall, Sara E. Rios ’85, born and raised in Toledo and an alumna of Toledo Law, died after a courageous battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The daughter of Chicano farmworkers and the eldest of eight children, Sara dedicated her life to peace, justice and equality for all. 

During her career, she represented an extensive range of clients — from women on Native American reservations, to day laborers, to farmworkers organizing for their rights to those threatened with eviction — to make equal rights a reality. 

We are raising funds to keep her quest for justice and equality alive through the Sara E. Rios Memorial Fellowship Fund for Social and Racial Justice.

After graduating from Toledo Law, Sara first became a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and then held leadership positions at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Employment Law Project and the Ford Foundation. Her final leadership position was as President of the Ruth Mott Foundation in Flint, Michigan. 

Before her death, friends of Sara Rios organized and paid for one last trip to New York City—no small task since Sara was by that time completely paralyzed by ALS and able to speak only with extreme difficulty. 

We are raising funds to establish a lasting tribute to Sara’s legacy by creating an endowment for a perpetual fellowship for students at The University of Toledo College of Law in her memory. The interest generated by the endowment each year will be awarded to aspiring lawyers who, like Sara, want to use their legal training to serve others and who need assistance while they work at low-paying public interest internships.

Practicing human rights law was deeply engrained in Sara, and she was grateful for the excellent legal education she received at The University of Toledo.

Sara would be so honored by this fund and the opportunity it will give to other students using the law to win fairness and equity for all.

You are a big part of making this goal.  Your donation will help Toledo Law students pursue careers aimed at peace, justice, and equality.

We know there are other Saras out there.  Please make a financial gift to the Sara E. Rios Memorial Fellowship Fund for Social and Racial Justice.

The Friends of Sara Rios have commitments for significant gifts and are working to shatter our $200,000 goal by Sara’s birthday on Oct. 31.

Together we can make it happen.  Join us in contributing to the Sara E. Rios Memorial Fellowship for Social and Racial Justice Fund. 

For more information and ways to give, please contact Barbara Tartaglia-Poure, Executive Director of Development, at 419.530.2713 or

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