As we celebrate DC Bar Foundation’s 40th year, I’m filled with gratitude for each of you.
Together, as donors and supporters, grantees, leadership and volunteers, for four decades and counting, you have continuously expanded equal access to justice.
Because of your support:
In 1978 we awarded our first seven grants totaling $85,000, with the vision of removing poverty’s paralyzing legal impact on the District’s most vulnerable residents.
In 1985 we became the administrator of the District’s Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, which helps people in need get help with civil legal problems threatening their most basic needs – such as access to food, shelter, jobs, and safety.
In 2007 we started administering the District’s Access to Justice Initiative. Its grants program places attorneys in DC’s poorest neighborhoods, addresses urgent housing-related needs, and supports the nation’s only shared legal interpreter bank. Our loan repayment assistance program (LRAP), created by this initiative, remains the most generous program of its kind nationwide. Because of it, DC’s legal aid providers can recruit and retain high-quality lawyers to act on behalf of our most underserved residents.
In 2017 we became the administrator of another new grant program, one that defends low-income residents from unlawful evictions. We launched with urgency in 90 days, and so far this year have awarded more than $3.4 million to six organizations providing legal representation to keep DC’s poorest neighbors in their homes.
In 2018 we awarded more than 65 grants, totaling more than $9.3 million.
Between 1978-2018, the Foundation has awarded more than $64 million in grants for civil legal aid in the District. But the work of equal access to justice continues, and WE NEED YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT.
In the years ahead, our collaborative approach to grantmaking on complex issues like DC’s housing affordability crisis requires us to be more agile and forward-facing than ever. As our local legal aid providers face new and deepening challenges, we must stay ready on the front lines. Together, we can lead the way in taking risks and expanding partnerships. And we can keep narrowing the gap for our neighbors marginalized by DC’s “haves & have-nots” divide.
Together, we can transform legal justice in the District for the next 40 years and beyond!