top of page

DC Bar Foundation Awards $900,000 in Grants to Expand Access to Justice

WASHINGTON, DC — Between July 2016 and December 2017, the DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) will award $900,000 to 22 organizations that provide direct civil legal assistance to underserved and low-income DC residents. These grants are funded by private donations to DCBF and by the DC Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, which DCBF administers. The organizations receiving grants provide legal help in many areas of civil law, including housing, employment, domestic violence, immigration, education, health, and disability rights. (See a complete list of grantees below.)

“The IOLTA program and the generosity of our donors allows us to advance the ideal of justice for all, not just for those who can afford it. We are proud to support our grantees, who provide exceptional legal representation to DC residents facing challenges to their families, homes, health and livelihoods,” said Kirra L. Jarratt, Executive Director of the DC Bar Foundation. “Donors and IOLTA participants contribute to the important work of leveling the civil legal playing field here in DC, and we thank them for their ongoing support.”

Since 1978, DCBF has awarded nearly $25 million in private grants to DC civil legal services providers. To make these grants, the Foundation depends on the support of firms and individuals, as well as the interest accrued on eligible client funds held in trust by attorneys in DC as part of the IOLTA program. DC’s IOLTA Program was created in 1985 by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and the program became mandatory in 2010. All attorneys barred in the District must place eligible client funds—those that are nominal in amount or will be held for only a short period of time—in a DC IOLTA account offered by an approved financial institution. The interest generated on these accounts is pooled to help provide civil legal aid in DC.

For additional information about the DC Bar Foundation and its grantees, visit

About the DC Bar Foundation: Guided by a vision of equal access to justice regardless of income, the DC Bar Foundation funds and supports civil legal aid for poor, vulnerable, and underserved populations in the District of Columbia. DCBF provides grants, training, and technical assistance to local non-profit legal services organizations, as well as funding to public interest lawyers to help relieve the burden of educational debts. Founded in 1977, the Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) organization and the District’s largest funder of civil legal services.


DC LEGAL SERVICES GRANTS RECIPIENTSOrganization and DescriptionAwardThe Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban AffairsDC Prisoners’ Project provides legal services to DC prisoners incarcerated in DC and federal facilities.$120,000The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless provides advice, counsel, and direct representation to the homeless or those at-risk of becoming homeless on a broad range of civil law issues$97,500Whitman-Walker Health provides pro bono legal advice and representation including private health and disability insurance, employment and healthcare discrimination, public benefits, immigration, wills, health care, and financial powers of attorney, regardless of HIV status, sexual orientation, and gender.$82,500Bread for the City is a holistic services provider based in two sites – Shaw and Southeast – that provides free legal advice and representation in the areas of housing, family, and public benefits law.$75,000Ayuda provides free legal services in immigration, domestic violence, and sexual assault, as well as running the Community Legal Interpreter Bank.$67,500The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia provides representation, assistance, and advocacy on behalf of individuals and families living in poverty in four major practice areas: domestic violence and family law, public benefits, housing, and consumer law.$67,500The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center provides linguistically accessible and culturally appropriate legal services to low-income Asian Americans with limited English proficiency on abuse prevention, employment, family, housing, immigration, and health and disability.$37,500The DC Employment Justice Center provides legal advice and assistance, referral, and education, plus representation in individual and impact cases for low-income workers with job-related legal problems.$37,500DC Law Students in Court Program, Inc. provides free legal assistance to low-income residents of Washington, DC while training third-year law students to protect the rights of the less fortunate in the District.$37,500Legal Counsel for the Elderly provides free legal representation and related advocacy services to low-income DC residents 60 years of age or older in a number of practice areas, including guardianship, consumer protection, foreclosure, and landlord-tenant disputes.$33,750Neighborhood Legal Services Program provides free civil legal services to low-income residents of DC, in the areas of consumer, housing, family, domestic violence, employment, health care, and public benefits.$33,750The Catholic Charities Legal Network offers low-income DC residents access to free legal services in the following areas: employment, consumer, family law, landlord-tenant, public entitlements, wills, and probate.$30,000The Children’s Law Center provides direct legal services to low-income children and families in DC aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty.$30,000The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia’s Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project represents clients in appellate matters, assisting legal services lawyers in representing their clients and guiding trial courts in adjudicating the rights of litigants in poverty who remain unrepresented$30,000The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project provides civil legal and investigative services to indigent prisoners in DC, Maryland, and Virginia who were convicted of crimes they did not commit.$30,000University Legal Services is the protection and advocacy agency for the District of Columbia and is the primary provider of legal and non-legal advocacy services for individuals with disabilities.$22,500Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc. provides legal services to families in the areas of special education, school discipline, and school push-out issues.$15,000The Network for Victim Recovery of DC aims to change the impact of victimization by providing holistic, comprehensive services to all crime victims in DC. NVRDC staff attorneys offer representation in sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking cases.$15,000The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition works to provide legal assistance to detained immigrants and asylum seekers in DC.$11,250Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment & Appeals Project works on domestic violence issues on the appellate level, attempting to give victims, who are denied justice at the trial level, the resources to appeal, improve outcomes for victims and the fairness of trial proceedings, and advance the law on behalf of victims by developing strong legal precedents.$11,250Christian Legal Aid provides free or reduced-cost legal services to low-income individuals, families and non-profit organizations from a faith-based perspective primarily through their three legal aid clinics in Washington, DC.$7,500The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project provides free legal representation to domestic violence victims, at-risk children, and other low-income individuals in the District with urgent family law needs.$7,500

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page