Our Grantees

The DC Bar Foundation administers two grant programs supporting legal services providers: the Access to Justice Grants Program (Public Grants) and the Private Grants Program. Additionally, three one-time grant programs were made possible through money DCBF received from bank settlements. In September 2015, thanks to funds from a US DOJ and Bank of America settlement, DCBF awarded more than $243,000 to five DC legal aid organizations for four foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment legal assistance projects. In June 2016, thanks to funds from a US DOJ and Citigroup settlement, DCBF awarded $950,000 to five DC legal aid organizations for foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment legal assistance projects. In June 2017, DCBF awarded $939,000 to five projects for the third distribution of the foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment legal assistance funds.

Access to Justice – Public Grants

Funded by a grant from the District of Columbia Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG), the Access to Justice (ATJ) Grants Program funds projects in three categories: (a) a shared legal services interpreter bank; (b) underserved areas; and (c) housing-related matters. Through a competitive grants process, 33 projects, of which three are new projects, received a total of $4,552,000 in 2017 and are listed below. Further detail on each grantee can be found in this press release. For general information on applying for the ATJ Grants Program, click here.

2017 Access to Justice Grants – Public Grantees

*Denotes new projects

Total 2017 Access to Justice Grant Awards – $4,552,000

SHARED LEGAL INTERPRETER BANK – $319,500

ProjectOrganizationDescriptionAward
Community Legal Interpreter BankAyudaAyuda received continued funding for its shared legal interpreter bank, which provides assistance to legal service providers using trained community legal interpreters. The project serves as a national model for coordinated, point-of-service legal interpreter services.$319,500

UNDERSERVED AREAS – $3,083,000

ProjectOrganizationDescriptionAward
Generations ProjectChildren’s Law CenterChildren’s Law Center received continued funding for its medical-legal partnership with the Children’s National Medical Center’s Generations program that focuses on teen parents and their children. The project provides legal representation on a wide range of issues and health outcomes for children born to teen parents$25,000
Jenny Hatch Justice ProjectQuality Trust for Individuals with DisabilitiesQuality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities received continued funding to provide representation for District residents with disabilities who are facing or suffering overbroad or undue guardianships. The project’s attorneys help those in this situation by teaching them about alternatives such as supported decision-making, powers of attorney, advance directives, and other supports and services designed to protect and increase individual independence and self-determination.$28,000
Homeless Legal ConnectChristian Legal Aid of the District of ColumbiaChristian Legal Aid of the District of Columbia received continued funding to staff and manage its monthly intake center based at Central Union Mission, a men’s homeless shelter and social service agency located in Ward 6. Staff attorneys and volunteer attorneys staff the clinic, providing legal assistance in various matters such as housing, public benefits, expungements, estate planning, and family law. About 50 percent of the clinic’s clients are homeless, while the remainder are low-income residents of Wards 6, 7, and 8.$30,000
Pro Bono Asylum ProgramTorture Abolition and Survivors Support CoalitionTorture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition received continued funding for its Pro Bono Asylum Program (PBAB), which provides free legal aid to survivors of torture who reside in DC and are seeking political asylum. PBAP’s attorneys help survivors prepare their applications, affidavits, and evidence for asylum, as well as represent them in their asylum interviews.$32,000
Empowerment ProjectAmara Legal CenterThe Amara Legal Center received continued funding to provide free legal aid to individuals whose rights have been violated by involvement in commercial sex, regardless of reason for entry into commercial sex. The project’s attorney provides legal assistance in the areas of child custody and support, civil protection orders, public benefits, crime victims’ compensation, and record sealing.$40,000
Latina Outreach ProjectFirst Shift Justice ProjectFirst Shift Justice Project (FSJP) received continued funding for its Latina Outreach Project to prevent unlawful job loss among low-income pregnant Latina women and new Latina mothers. FSJP works with Latina women and aims to prevent job loss rather than regain employment. FSJP proactively reaches out to pregnant women to request pregnancy accommodations at work before they lose their jobs.$40,000
*Direct Legal Services in Debt CasesTzedek DC, Inc.Tzedek DC received new funding to assist low-income DC residents in debt-related legal matters. Tzedek DC will help DC residents avoid the effects of a negative court judgment and bad credit report, such as losing their driver’s license, seizure of their bank account, impossible payment plans, and the inability to obtain employment. Tzedek DC will also conduct community outreach by partnering with the United Planning Organization in Ward 7, where approximately 9,380 households are headed by a single female.$47,000
Consumer Law Court-Based Legal Services ProjectLegal Aid Soceity of the District of ColumbiaLegal Aid Society of the District of Columbia received continued funding to provide access to same-day representation in debt collection cases in an effort to protect the limited income and assets of low-income DC residents. The project places legal aid attorneys at DC Superior Court to serve pro se litigants in debt collection matters before the Small Claims Court and the civil collections calendar.$50,000
Extended Representation to Domestic Violence Victims in Custody, Child Support & DivorceDC Volunteer Lawyers ProjectDC Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP) received continued funding to represent domestic violence survivors in civil protection orders, custody, child support, and divorce matters. DCVLP utilizes a network of volunteer attorneys to address the severe shortage of free legal assistance for low-income people in the District who have urgent family law needs.$50,000
Healthy Together Medical-Legal Partnership in Northeast DCChildren’s Law CenterChildren’s Law Center received continued funding for its medical-legal partnership with Unity Healthcare’s Minnesota Avenue clinic in Northeast DC. Attorneys work with the clinic’s doctors to identify and address each young patient’s legal needs, such as substandard housing conditions, unmet educational needs, and lack of access to health care for urgent medical episodes. $55,000
Community Lawyering Project Bread for the CityBread for the City received continued funding for its community lawyering work located at its site on Good Hope Road SE. The project’s attorneys work directly with the community to help identify options to tackle issues affecting its residents and, when needed, provide substantial direct representation to the residents. The project focuses on affordable housing, housing conditions, and hiring practices.$60,000
Expungement ClinicDC Law Students in Court
DC Law Students in Court received continued funding to provide legal assistance to low-income District residents who have a criminal arrest, charge, or conviction that they wish to seal. Even if they were never charged for or convicted of a crime, individuals may have a criminal record, making it more difficult to secure a job or housing, pursue education, and receive public assistance. The Expungement Clinic attorneys works closely with eligible low-income District residents to seal their record and increase their chance at securing the basic components of a prosperous life. $60,000
Direct Legal Representation & Advocacy ProjectThe School Justice ProjectThe School Justice Project (SJP) received continued funding to protect and advocate for the special education rights of court-involved students, ages 17 to 22, during incarceration and throughout reintegration. SJP attorneys work to increase access to appropriate special education in order to improve educational, employment, and life outcomes for this traditionally excluded student population.$75,000
Transgender Legal Service ProjectWhitman-Walker HealthWhitman-Walker Health received continued funding to assist DC’s large transgender population on a variety of legal issues including discrimination in the workplace, at school, in housing, and in health care; public benefits; immigration; private health insurance; and obtaining accurate identity documents. The grant also increases Whitman-Walker Health’s capacity to serve transgender clients seeking assistance at its name and gender change clinic, which started in June 2012.$75,000
School Discipline/Office of Administrative Hearings Extended Project Advocates for Justice and EducationAdvocates for Justice and Education received continued funding to address the increasing demand for legal representation and support in suspension and expulsion proceedings. The project provides on-site free legal assistance (information, advice and counsel, and/or brief services) to parents, guardians, or students at student disciplinary hearings before the Office of Administrative Hearings.$76,000
Project Eradicating Notario Deceit (Project END)AyudaAyuda received continued funding to advise, counsel, and represent immigrant victims of fraud in potential immigration, civil, and criminal processes stemming from fraudulent acts by “representatives” purporting to serve the immigrant community. These representatives are often known as “notarios” or “immigration consultants.” The intended beneficiaries of Project END are low-income immigrants residing in the District who have been defrauded by a notario. $85,000
Brief Services Unit ProjectNeighborhood Legal Services ProgramNeighborhood Legal Services Program received continued funding to maintain a staff attorney in its Brief Services Unit. The attorney performs an initial diagnosis of legal problems and provides advice or brief service when such limited assistance may be sufficient to enable the individual to resolve the problem. The beneficiaries of the project are low-income DC residents living in Wards 5, 7, and 8. $94,500
Homebound Elderly Project (Project HELP)Legal Counsel for the ElderlyLegal Counsel for the Elderly received continued funding for an attorney to assist low-income, homebound elders in need of wills, advance directives, and public benefits audits, as well as those affected by consumer scams and housing-related issues. The Project HELP attorney also draws support from a pool of pro bono attorneys and other volunteer professionals to provide increased legal aid to home-bound seniors.$100,000
Domestic Violence Underserved Communities Representation ProjectLegal Aid Soceity of the District of ColumbiaLegal Aid Society of the District of Columbia received continued funding to provide focused outreach and legal aid to domestic violence survivors in poor and underserved communities in DC. The project attorneys have also established an office at the Domestic Violence Intake Center located in DC Superior Court.$145,000
DC Jail & Prison Advocacy ProjectDisability Rights DC at University Legal ServicesDisability Rights DC at University Legal Services (ULS) serves as DC’s federally mandated protection and advocacy organization charged with working for the rights of people with disabilities. ULS received continued funding to support attorneys who provide legal aid and direct advocacy for inmates in the DC Jail and other DC correctional facilities with mental disabilities. The staff attorneys work closely with the DC Department of Corrections, the DC Department of Mental Health, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons regarding DC prisoners. $146,500
Domestic Violence Community Legal Services ProjectBread for the CityBread for the City received continued funding for its Domestic Violence Community Legal Services Project, which provides legal aid, including civil protection orders, divorce, child custody, and public benefits, to low-income District residents who are experiencing violence within the household. The project’s target populations are domestic violence survivors living in Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8. $150,000
Max Robinson Center Legal Services Whitman-Walker HealthWhitman-Walker Health (WWH) received continued funding to provide legal representation, counseling, and outreach to people living with HIV/AIDS and other low-income residents in Wards 7 and 8 through lawyers based at its Max Robinson Center in Southeast DC. WWH offers its free legal aid to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in DC, regardless of HIV status, and to health care patients at WWH regardless of sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity.$175,000
Healthy Together Medical-Legal Partnership in Southeast DCChildren’s Law CenterChildren’s Law Center received continued funding for its Healthy Together Project in Southeast DC. In this medical-legal collaboration, the lawyers provide services through the two Southeast clinics of the Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC). The lawyers work with families of CNMC patients to identify and resolve non-medical solutions to children’s health issues. $200,000
Polk Street Office – Ward 7Neighborhood Legal Services ProgramNeighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP) received continued funding to provide neighborhood-based legal aid in the areas of housing, family law, and public benefits. Staff attorneys are physically located at NLSP’s office on Polk Street NE to provide low-income residents of this underserved community with free and accessible legal assistance. $250,000
Child Support Community Legal Services ProjectBread for the City and Legal Aid Soceity of the District of ColumbiaBread for the City and Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia received continued funding for their Child Support Community Legal Services Project. The project’s partners maintain a court-based legal services office at the Paternity & Support Branch of the DC Superior Court. The public funding supports staff attorney positions to improve individual outcomes for custodial and noncustodial parents in their child support cases, enhance the fairness of the court process, and increase the efficiency of the Paternity & Support Branch.$284,000
*Employment Justice ProjectWashington Lawyers' CommitteeThe Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (WLC) received new funding to expand its Employment Justice Project. Attorneys will assist DC low-income workers recover stolen wages, fight discrimination, and ensure they receive their lawful wages by hosting clinics, conducting outreach, providing rights training, and representing clients.$325,000
Southeast Neighborhood Access ProjectLegal Aid Soceity of the District of ColumbiaLegal Aid Society of the District of Columbia received continued public funding to support lawyers who work with clients from offices co-located with other legal and non-legal service organizations in Wards 7 and 8. Lawyers work out of two neighborhood offices located in Southeast and provide a range of civil legal aid.$385,000

HOUSING-RELATED MATTERS – $1,149,500

ProjectOrganizationDescriptionAward
Housing and Community Development Project Asian Pacific American Legal Resource CenterThe Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC) is the region’s legal advocate for the legal and civil rights of Asian Americans in the Washington metropolitan area. Through the Housing and Community Development Project, APALRC received continued funding to provide legal assistance to the District’s low-income Asian immigrants with limited-English proficiency regarding evictions, threats, illegal rent increase, and bad housing conditions, as well as illegal relocation, denial of access to housing applications, and lack of language access in Section 8 housing developments.$30,000
*Housing Justice ProjectWashington Lawyers' CommitteeWashington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (WLC) received new funding to support its Fair Housing Project. Attorneys will provide legal assistance to low-income tenants in an effort to preserve affordable housing in the District.$60,000
Attorney-of-the-Day DC Law Students in CourtDC Law Students in Court (DCLSIC) received continued public funding to support attorneys to work at the DC Superior Court’s Landlord and Tenant Branch in collaboration with the Landlord-Tenant Court-Based Legal Services Project, run by Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and Bread for the City. DCLSIC provides low-income tenants with free same-day representation on housing matters.$85,000
Housing Right to Counsel Pilot ProjectBread for the City, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, and Legal Counsel for the ElderlyThe Housing Right to Counsel Pilot Project received continued funding and is a joint project between Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, Bread for the City, and Legal Counsel for the Elderly. The project grows out of the DC Right to Housing Initiative, which is a collaborative effort among legal aid providers, the DC Bar Pro Bono Program, and the DC Access to Justice Commission and addresses the lack of safe, affordable, accessible, and stable housing for DC’s low-income residents. The project’s goal is to reduce eviction by significantly expanding representation for tenants facing eviction who live in subsidized housing.$389,500
Landlord Tenant Court-Based Legal Services Project Bread for the City and Legal Aid Society of the District of ColumbiaBread for the City and Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia received continued funding to maintain attorneys in the Landlord-Tenant Court-Based Legal Services Project to provide legal aid to low-income tenants in DC through an “attorney-of-the-day” project. Tenants receive same-day representation in matters they have in court and long-term help on housing matters. By increasing representation of low-income tenants, attorneys help keep families in housing, address code violations, and keep housing affordable. $585,000

Private Grants Program

The DC Bar Foundation makes annual grants in June of each year to legal aid organizations in the District of Columbia. These grants are supported by IOLTA funds received in the District and by the generous contributions of DC law firms, lawyers, and others. These grants provide general and project support to legal aid organizations and support cross-cutting grants and technical assistance for grantees. Click here for general information on applying to the DC Legal Services Grants program. In June 2016, the DC Bar Foundation awarded a total of $900,000 to the following DC-based legal services providers for July 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017. Read the press release here.

Recipients of the 2016 Private Grants Program

Organization and DescriptionAward
The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs’ DC Prisoners' Project provides legal services to DC prisoners incarcerated in DC and federal facilities.$120,000
The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless provides advice, counsel, and direct representation to the homeless or those at-risk of becoming homeless on a broad range of civil law issues$97,500
Whitman-Walker Health provides pro bono legal advice and representation including private health and disability insurance, employment and healthcare discrimination, public benefits, immigration, wills, health care, and financial powers of attorney, regardless of HIV status, sexual orientation, and gender.$82,500
Bread for the City is a holistic services provider based in two sites - Shaw and Southeast - that provides free legal advice and representation in the areas of housing, family, and public benefits law.$75,000
Ayuda provides free legal services in immigration, domestic violence, and sexual assault, as well as running the Community Legal Interpreter Bank.$67,500
The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia provides representation, assistance, and advocacy on behalf of individuals and families living in poverty in four major practice areas: domestic violence and family law, public benefits, housing, and consumer law.$67,500
The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center provides linguistically accessible and culturally appropriate legal services to low-income Asian Americans with limited English proficiency on abuse prevention, employment, family, housing, immigration, and health and disability.$37,500
The DC Employment Justice Center provides legal advice and assistance, referral, and education, plus representation in individual and impact cases for low-income workers with job-related legal problems.$37,500
DC Law Students in Court Program, Inc. provides free legal assistance to low-income residents of Washington, DC while training third-year law students to protect the rights of the less fortunate in the District.$37,500
Legal Counsel for the Elderly provides free legal representation and related advocacy services to low-income DC residents 60 years of age or older in a number of practice areas, including guardianship, consumer protection, foreclosure, and landlord-tenant disputes.$33,750
Neighborhood Legal Services Program provides free civil legal services to low-income residents of DC, in the areas of consumer, housing, family, domestic violence, employment, health care, and public benefits.$33,750
The Catholic Charities Legal Network offers low-income DC residents access to free legal services in the following areas: employment, consumer, family law, landlord-tenant, public entitlements, wills, and probate.$30,000
The Children's Law Center provides direct legal services to low-income children and families in DC aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty.$30,000
The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia’s Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project represents clients in appellate matters, assisting legal services lawyers in representing their clients and guiding trial courts in adjudicating the rights of litigants in poverty who remain unrepresented$30,000
The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project provides civil legal and investigative services to indigent prisoners in DC, Maryland, and Virginia who were convicted of crimes they did not commit.$30,000
University Legal Services is the protection and advocacy agency for the District of Columbia and is the primary provider of legal and non-legal advocacy services for individuals with disabilities.$22,500
Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc. provides legal services to families in the areas of special education, school discipline, and school push-out issues.$15,000
The Network for Victim Recovery of DC aims to change the impact of victimization by providing holistic, comprehensive services to all crime victims in DC. NVRDC staff attorneys offer representation in sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking cases.$15,000
The Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition works to provide legal assistance to detained immigrants and asylum seekers in DC.$11,250
Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment & Appeals Project works on domestic violence issues on the appellate level, attempting to give victims, who are denied justice at the trial level, the resources to appeal, improve outcomes for victims and the fairness of trial proceedings, and advance the law on behalf of victims by developing strong legal precedents.$11,250
Christian Legal Aid provides free or reduced-cost legal services to low-income individuals, families and non-profit organizations from a faith-based perspective primarily through their three legal aid clinics in Washington, DC.$7,500
The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project provides free legal representation to domestic violence victims, at-risk children, and other low-income individuals in the District with urgent family law needs.$7,500

THE 2015 RECIPIENTS OF FORECLOSURE PREVENTION AND COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT GRANTS

Legal aid organizations based in the District were able to apply for funding for foreclosure prevention and/or community redevelopment legal assistance projects in July 2015. More than $243,000 was awarded to the four projects below in September 2015. Read more in the press release here.

FORECLOSURE PREVENTION LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS

ProjectOrganizationAward
Joint Court-Based Foreclosure Prevention ProjectLegal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and Legal Counsel for the Elderly$100,000

COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS

ProjectOrganizationAward
Save Museum Square ProjectAsian Pacific American Legal Resource Center$24,500
Deanwood Neighborhood Preservation ProjectNeighborhood Legal Services Program$84,000
Affordable Housing Preservation ProjectWashington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil and Urban Affairs$35,000

THE 2016 RECIPIENTS OF FORECLOSURE PREVENTION AND COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT GRANTS

Legal aid organizations based in the District were able to apply for funding for foreclosure prevention and/or community redevelopment legal assistance projects in March 2016. $950,000 was awarded to the five projects below in July 2016. Read more in the press release here.

FORECLOSURE PREVENTION LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS

ProjectOrganizationAward
Legal Counsel for the Elderly Foreclosure Prevention ProjectLegal Counsel for the Elderly$240,000
Legal Aid Society Foreclosure Prevention ProjectLegal Aid Society of the District of Columbia$180,000

COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS

ProjectOrganizationAward
Housing Cooperative Preservation InitiativeNeighborhood Legal Services Program$270,000
Affordable Housing InitiativeWashington Legal Clinic for the Homeless$150,000
Community Preservation ProjectBread for the City and Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia$110,000

THE 2017 RECIPIENTS OF FORECLOSURE PREVENTION AND COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT GRANTS

Legal aid organizations based in the District were able to apply for funding for foreclosure prevention and/or community redevelopment legal assistance projects in March 2017. $939,000 was awarded to the five projects below in July 2016. Read more in the press release here.

FORECLOSURE PREVENTION LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS

ProjectOrganization(s)AwardDescription
LAS Foreclosure Prevention ProjectLegal Aid Society of the District of Columbia$200,000Legal Aid Society of DC provides same-day representation to low-income DC residents in foreclosure cases at DC Superior Court. Their attorneys are present in court every week for the call of the judicial foreclosure calendar to provide information and legal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure.
LCE Foreclosure Prevention ProjectLegal Counsel for the Elderly$224,000Legal Counsel for the Elderly’s (LCE) Foreclosure Prevention Project attorneys staff the judicial foreclosure calendar at DC Superior Court every week. LCE attorneys provide information, legal assistance and full representation to low-income DC homeowners facing foreclosure, with a particular focus on elderly homeowners.

COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS

ProjectOrganization(s)AwardDescription
Affordable Housing InitiativeWashington Legal Clinic for the Homeless$150,000Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless represents tenant associations through the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act and zoning processes in order to preserve affordable housing and ensure that the zoning process leads to maximum number of truly affordable units for low-income residents. The attorneys also represent individual tenants in housing conditions-related cases.
Community Preservation ProjectBread for the City and Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia$215,000Through their Community Preservation Project, Bread for the City and Legal Aid Society of DC combat the causes of affordable housing loss due to significant rent increases, termination of government subsidies, sale of properties, conversion to condominiums, and unsafe conditions. The two organizations are able to work in tandem with one property: while one organization represents the property’s tenant association, the other organization represents individual tenants in other landlord-tenant issues such as housing conditions and wrongful evictions.
Housing Cooperative Preservation InitiativeNeighborhood Legal Services Program$150,000Through its Housing Cooperative Preservation Initiative Project, Neighborhood Legal Services Program preserves tenant-owned limited equity cooperatives (LECs). The project’s attorneys assist tenant groups develop and maintain their LEC’s administrative infrastructure and governance, advise on regulatory compliance, and provide on-going education and legal advice to LEC board of directors. The project’s goal is to prevent problems that may cause these affordable housing cooperatives to convert to market rate housing.