PRESS RELEASE: DC Bar Foundation Awards $15.75 Million for Free Legal Assistance in DC

[District of Columbia, December 22, 2021] – The DC Bar Foundation, in another record year for grantmaking, awarded $15.75 million in grants to 36 DC legal aid organizations providing free legal assistance to thousands of financially disenfranchised DC residents. “We are pleased to make these awards to 36 organizations who work tirelessly to deliver life-altering legal services to so many in our city who, without their efforts would be falling even farther behind in these extremely challenging times,” says Nancy Gist, Director of Programs at the DC Bar Foundation. The DC Bar Foundation’s grants offer critical support to DC legal aid organizations that provide a broad spectrum of civil legal services to financially disenfranchised DC residents. The majority of funds will go to providing services to our neighbors in Wards 5, 7, and 8, where there is a concentration of families of four living on an annual income of less than $25,000. And, nearly half of overall available funds will support efforts to combat housing-related issues, including eviction and homelessness. Other issue-areas supported through these funds include employment, domestic violence, family and disability law, access to public benefits, and more. “As the pandemic continues to impact our community, it is more important than ever to collaborate across the civil legal aid network,” says Kirra Jarratt, Chief Executive Officer of the DC Bar Foundation. “We must continue to innovate ways to expand legal services within our city so that those who are most vulnerable get the dignified legal help they deserve. The funds we awarded will support our grantees, as key members of our city’s civil legal aid network, as they work with the Foundation and a variety of other stakeholders to transform the delivery of legal services in DC so that it is more accessible to all.” The $15.75 million in grants is comprised of three funding streams. The first stream of funding is from an appropriation from the Council of the District of Columbia through a grant from the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, used for the Access to Justice Grants Program and Civil Legal Counsel Projects Grant Programs. The remaining two funding streams, private fundraising and revenue from the DC Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts Program, support the Foundation’s General Support Grants Program. A second grants cycle will launch in early 2022. To read about the impact the DC Bar Foundation is having across the District, please visit www.dcbarfoundation.org.

About the DC Bar Foundation: We are committed to transforming DC's legal aid network so that all District residents have a fair and equal legal experience. Through our network approach, we actively work to bring together all invested stakeholders to identify and address the unmet civil legal needs of DC residents with low incomes, create solutions with a critical eye for racial justice and equity, and demonstrate meaningful impact.

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