[District of Columbia, March 3, 2020] – Launching in MarchNeighbors Designing Justice will bring together community members and providers along with the DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) grantees in Anacostia, a predominantly African American and low-income Ward 8 neighborhood that is facing intense displacement. 

In January, the DC Bar Foundation awarded more than 25% of its $10.5M in civil legal aid grants to benefit residents of Ward 8. By taking a deep dive into the past, present and future of Anacostia, DCBF and its grantees will build trust and strengthen relationships with the community’s members, its social services providers, government agencies and its healthcare, education and cultural institutions. 

Beginning with Anacostia, Neighbors Designing Justice will support legal aid and other stakeholders working in tandem with low-income, vulnerable community members in a creative problem-solving process that gives everyone a voice. The initiative’s user-centered, community-based approach will engage DC residents, institutions and service providers as partners in designing more successful, user-friendly services.
With a fuller understanding of community issues from a resident’s perspective, a clearer picture will emerge as to which unresolved legal problems are the biggest barriers in people’s lives. The DC Bar Foundation and its grantees will learn directly from our DC neighbors how legal information and assistance could be delivered to the community in the most easily accessible and usable ways. 

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 largest 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.