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Who We Are

About the DC Bar Foundation

The DC Bar Foundation is the leading funder of civil legal aid in the District of Columbia. We are committed to the vision that residents of the District have equal access to justice, regardless of income. Our mission is to fund, support, and improve legal representation of people who are financially disenfranchised or who are otherwise underserved in the District of Columbia.

The Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, was established in 1977 to provide a vehicle for lawyers and law firms to contribute to legal services organizations in the District of Columbia. In 1985, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals established the District’s IOLTA program, which the Foundation administers. In 2006, the Council of the District of Columbia appropriated funds for civil legal services grants and a poverty lawyer loan repayment assistance program, designating the DC Bar Foundation as administrator.

The Bar Foundation awards grants to the District’s legal services organizations that provide free civil legal services to low-income and underserved people in the District. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $123 million in grants.


In September 2019, the DC Bar Foundation committed to this visionary goal:

To transform the civil legal aid network, working closely with all stakeholders, 
so District residents have a fair and equal legal experience. 

The Foundation seeks to realize this goal using the following five strategies.



Engage all stakeholders in the work

The DC Bar Foundation will work with existing and identify new partners to support the civil legal aid network by providing data, identifying needs, sharing observations, serving as a sounding board, and developing solutions to meet the community civil legal aid needs.

Recent activity:

  • In September 2022, the Foundation and Visible Network Labs (VNL) conducted a second mapping of the District's civil legal aid network.  In June 2021, VNL did an initial "network mapping" of the inaugural 75 DC Legal Aid Transformation Network (DC LATN) members to assess what partnerships already existed and how to strengthen them. By September 2022, DC LATN had grown to 103 organizations. VNL invited these organizations to participate in a second network mapping survey to understand what had changed due to DC LATN's quarterly convenings and other activities. We learned that the network sustainability is supported by the change in structure and composition over the last year. Additionally, the perceived trust and value among collaborating partners within the network also increased. The DC Legal Aid Transformations Network Fall 2022 Comparison Report details the survey results. 

  • ​On December 14, 2022, the DC Legal Aid Transformations Network (DC LATN) was convened for the seventh time. Ariel Levinson-Waldman, Founding President and Director-Counsel at Tzedek DC and Co-Chair of the Consortium, and Joseph Schieffer, CEO of A2J Tech, provided updates on the Coordinated Intake and Referral System (CIR) and technology infrastructure.  DC LATN subnetworks used the meeting to plan for 2023. The next quarterly convening is on March 8, 2023. 

  • The DC Bar Foundation and the Greater Washington Community Foundation continue to co-lead the DC Eviction Prevention Group, with facilitation by the Urban Institute. These local efforts grew out of the June 2021 White House Eviction Prevention Summit. On February 1, 2023, the DC Eviction Prevention Co-Leads Group released "A Collaborative Framework for Eviction Prevention in DC," highlighting a cross-sector approach to resolving matters related to eviction and displacement on behalf of DC residents.

Core Values
Who We Serve

The need for civil legal aid, and how the DC Bar Foundation helps.

DC Social Justice Transformations Network

Who we are, how to register, when our next convening is, and more!

Coordinated Intake and Referral

Our effort to build a CIR sytstem for all areas of civil legal aid in DC.


Evaluation reports, annual reports, financials, all in one location.

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