Posts Tagged ‘Issue 26 (September 2018)’

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

As we celebrate DC Bar Foundation’s 40th year, I’m filled with gratitude for each of you.

Together, as donors and supporters, grantees, leadership and volunteers, for four decades and counting, you have continuously expanded equal access to justice.

Because of your support:

  • In 1978 we awarded our first seven grants totaling $85,000, with the vision of removing poverty’s paralyzing legal impact on the District’s most vulnerable residents.
  • In 1985 we became the administrator of the District’s Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, which helps people in need get help with civil legal problems threatening their most basic needs – such as access to food, shelter, jobs, and safety.
  • In 2007 we started administering the District’s Access to Justice Initiative. Its grants program places attorneys in DC’s poorest neighborhoods, addresses urgent housing-related needs, and supports the nation’s only shared legal interpreter bank. Our loan repayment assistance program (LRAP), created by this initiative, remains the most generous program of its kind nationwide. Because of it, DC’s legal aid providers can recruit and retain high-quality lawyers to act on behalf of our most underserved residents.
  • In 2017 we became the administrator of another new grant program, one that defends low-income residents from unlawful evictions. We launched with urgency in 90 days, and so far this year have awarded more than $3.4 million to six organizations providing legal representation to keep DC’s poorest neighbors in their homes.
  • In 2018 we awarded more than 65 grants, totaling more than $9.3 million.

Between 1978-2018, the Foundation has awarded more than $64 million in grants for civil legal aid in the District. But the work of equal access to justice continues, and WE NEED YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT.

In the years ahead, our collaborative approach to grantmaking on complex issues like DC’s housing affordability crisis requires us to be more agile and forward-facing than ever. As our local legal aid providers face new and deepening challenges, we must stay ready on the front lines. Together, we can lead the way in taking risks and expanding partnerships. And we can keep narrowing the gap for our neighbors marginalized by DC’s “haves & have-nots” divide.

Together, we can transform legal justice in the District for the next 40 years and beyond!


Executive Director

Fall Reception: October 10

Please join us as we recognize the work of our grantees and LRAP recipients, as well as, the ongoing support of our loyal donors and volunteers.

Wednesday, October 10
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
950 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


Apply Now: LRAP Application

The DC Bar Foundation is currently accepting applications for the 2019 Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), which are due 10/25. Learn more about the 2019 LRAP application process here and join us for an information session on October 2 or October 11.

Apply Now

Welcome to New Programs Officer Elizabeth Nellums!

Programs Officer Elizabeth Nellums joins the DC Bar Foundation with a passion for improving access to justice for underserved residents of the District.

A DC resident, Elizabeth has seven years of grantmaking experience, most recently at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), where she was Program Manager for the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund.

As an environmental grantmaker, Elizabeth experienced first-hand how different forms of marginalization and oppression intersect and overlap. She saw how low-income communities bear the brunt of zoning decisions that poison their water and air, and how they are affected by a lack of safe parks, clean drinking water, and the environmental and other benefits of tree lined streets in their neighborhoods.

She witnessed the impact of the decimation of local natural and recreational resources such as the Anacostia River (which is slowly beginning to recover, despite an estimated 20,000 tons of trash, 50,000 tons of sediment, and a half billion gallons of untreated sewage entering it each year).

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from Miami University (Oxford, OH) and a Master of Science in Planning and Policy degree from the University of Michigan. On her new role with DCBF, she says: “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to leverage my skills into a new area of human services!”

Partner Profile: Bibek Basnet

Each month, we highlight individuals working to make the justice system more accessible to DC residents. Meet Bibek, who has joined the DC Bar Foundation as a Communications Temp.

Bibek Basnet


Communications Temp 


The DC Bar Foundation 

Where did you grow up? 

Kathmandu, Nepal 

What brought you to DC? 

Nonprofits, friends, and city life (I went to school in rural Vermont)  

What was your first job in DC, and what did you learn? 

Canvass Directing for a grassroots advocacy group. I learned how to talk with strangers and accept rejections.  



Daily Habit 


Favorite App 


Favorite Vacation Spot 

Lumbini- the birthplace of Buddha 

One item from your bucket list 

Being the lead singer for a band 



Most rewarding element of your work 

When I can enjoy my work while also being able to help someone 

List three main challenges you faced early on in your career 

Physical illness, ego, lack of mental stamina 



Your dream for our legal system is… 

Simpler and more accessible