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$9 Million Awarded for Free Legal Assistance in DC

District of Columbia, December 20, 2018 – The DC Bar Foundation awarded $9 million to 26 DC legal aid organizations providing free legal assistance to thousands of low-income DC residents.

“This funding is going to make a significant and measurable impact in the lives of underserved residents of the District,” stated Kirra L. Jarratt, Executive Director of the DC Bar Foundation. “For someone who cannot afford to hire a lawyer themselves, having legal counsel can make all the difference in terms of the outcome of their case. We’re talking about keeping people in their homes, parents maintaining custody of their children, and our neighbors not having to make the difficult choice between buying groceries or traveling downtown to seek legal assistance.”

The DC Bar Foundation supports DC legal aid organizations working on a spectrum of civil legal issues, including housing, employment, immigration, domestic violence, access to public benefits, and consumer law, as well as family and disability law. One of the primary goals of this round of grants is to make legal services more accessible to those who need them the most.

The majority of the funding is intended to benefit DC residents living in the most underserved areas of the city, specifically Wards 5, 7, and 8. These grants will maintain court-based as well as community-based offices. Both types of offices serve as critical points of access for low-income DC residents. The Foundation is also proud to support a range of collaborative projects such as a shared legal interpreter bank and a coordinated intake and referral network for victims of crime.

The $9 million in grants is comprised of three funding streams. Two of the funding streams are appropriations from the Council of the District of Columbia through a grant from the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants. The third funding stream is private fundraising and revenue from the DC Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account Program.

To read about the impact the DC Bar Foundation is having across the District, please visit

About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents in poverty, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the leading funder of civil legal aid in the District, we are a steadfast community partner, committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.


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