• Grants

    Grants

The DC Bar Foundation awards grants to DC-based 501(c)3 non-profit organizations that provide free civil legal aid to low-income DC residents. DCBF has two annual grant programs – private grants and public grants – and, in 2015, received money from two bank settlements to support foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment legal assistance projects in DC. For more information about the great services our grantees provide to DC’s poor, click here. More information about applications and reporting schedules can be found by clicking on the grant programs below.

Private Grants

  • Formal name: DC Legal Services Grants Program
  • Awarded annually since 1978
  • Source of funding: private contributions and IOLTA revenue
  • Application opens: July
  • Application closes: late September
  • Awards announced: mid-December
  • Grant year: January 1 to December 31

The DC Legal Services Grants Program (private grants), which began in 1978 when DCBF was founded, has provided over $25 million in critical operating support to DC legal aid providers. Private grants provide unrestricted funds support to help cover overhead costs, such as rent and client record databases, which are not always covered by other grants these organizations receive. These grants are funded by private contributions and revenue received through the IOLTA program.

Public Grants

  • Formal name: Access to Justice (ATJ) Grants Program
  • Awarded annually since 2007
  • Source of funding: public funding from a grant from the District
  • Application opens: July
  • Application closes: late September
  • Awards announced: mid-December
  • Grant year: January 1 to December 31

In 2007, DCBF began awarding grants under the Access to Justice (ATJ) Grants Program (public grants) when the Council of the District of Columbia designated DCBF as administrator of these funds. Public grants support organizations that provide legal assistance in three areas: (a) underserved areas in DC; (b) housing-related matters; and (c) to support a shared legal services interpreter bank. Since 2007, close to $30 million has been awarded to provide critical legal assistance to DC’s poor and underserved.

Civil Legal Counsel Grants

  • Formal name: Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program
  • Legislation passed in late June 2017
  • Source of funding: public funding from a grant from the District
  • Application opens: 2018

The Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program was established by the Council of the District of Columbia through the Expanding Access to Justice Amendment Act of 2017. The legislation designates the DC Bar Foundation to administer this grant program. Grants will be awarded exclusively to DC legal aid organizations that are providing legal representation to low-income DC tenants facing eviction proceedings in landlord-tenant court in Washington, DC.

Settlement Funds

DCBF created three, one-time grant programs from money received through bank settlements in 2015 and 2016. Grants went to foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment legal assistance projects.

2015 Foreclosure Prevention and Community Redevelopment Grants Program (BOA Grants)

  • Application released and due in July 2015 (read the press release here)
  • Awarded $243,500 in September 2015 (read the press release here)
  • Grant year: October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016
  • Grants awarded: one foreclosure prevention legal assistance project and three community redevelopment legal assistance projects (visit Our Grantees)

2016 Foreclosure Prevention and Community Redevelopment Grants Program (Citi Grants)

  • Application released and due in March 2016 (read the press release here)
  • Awarded $950,000 in July 2016 (read the press release here)
  • Grant year: July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018
  • Grants awarded: two foreclosure prevention legal assistance projects and three community redevelopment legal assistance projects (visit Our Grantees)

2017 Foreclosure Prevention and Community Redevelopment Grants Program (BOA II Grants)

  • Application released in February 2017 and due in March 2017
  • Awarded $939,000 in July 2017 (read the press release here)
  • Grant year: awarded two-year (July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019) and three-year (July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020) grants
  • Grants awarded: two foreclosure prevention legal assistance projects and three community redevelopment legal assistance projects (visit Our Grantees)