Posts Tagged ‘Issue 35 (June 2019)’


Will You Answer our Call to Action?

Each year through generous support for our Call to Action initiative, local law firms and businesses give low-income District residents vital access to legal resources. When you give to the Foundation, you help provide a wide range of services – including grants, trainings and technical assistance, and student debt loan repayment assistance – to dozens of legal aid organizations and attorneys throughout DC. Invest in justice by joining the Foundation’s Call to Action campaign. We are more than 80% of the way to our goal of $661,500. Contact Development Director Daryl Byler at for more information, or you can donate online or by filling out our donation form.

Apply for our Loan Repayment Assistance Program 2019

Are you committed to serving the most vulnerable people in our community? If you work for one of our eligible employers in DC and provide free legal services to low income residents, we may be able to help you pay off your student loans with our 2019 Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). Applications are due October 25, 2019. To learn more and to see if you qualify, visit our information page.

DC Bar Foundation’s 2020 Grants Timeline

We are gearing up for another successful grants year. The Foundation accepts applications annually from nonprofit organizations that provide free civil legal aid to low-income DC residents and administers these grants on a January 1 through December 31 grant year.

We welcome you to learn more about each of these opportunities on our website, and to assist in your application preparation, please review our 2020 Grants Timeline below.


  • Release Request for Applications for 2020
  • Information sessions for grants applications


  • Grant applications due (August 23rd)


  • In-person interviews with applicants


  • 2020 grant awards announced


  • 2020 grant year begins on January 1

Thank you for your interest and continued support, and please contact us at should you have any questions.

Save the Date: July 30 Info Session for 2020 Access to Justice & Private Grants Programs

We will host an information session for organizations interested in submitting proposals under the 2020 Access to Justice Grants program and the Private Grants program on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Access to Justice Grants support organizations that provide legal assistance in underserved areas in DC and housing-related matters; they also support a shared legal services interpreter bank. The Private Grants program provides unrestricted funds for DC legal aid providers.

RSVPs are required. Please RSVP here no later than Thursday, July 25. Contact with any questions.

Calling All Young Lawyers: Join the Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council!

Calling All Young Lawyers: Join the Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council!

Last week, the Foundation’s Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council (YLN LC) hosted its annual Lip Sync for Justice event. Over 150 guests and 39 sponsors came together for an exciting evening of lip sync and karaoke, raising $35,000 in support of civil legal aid in the District. We could not be more grateful to our YLN LC members for their dedication to making the event a great success. We thank them for their service to not only to the Foundation, but to their neighbors in DC.

Joining the YLN LC presents a unique opportunity to get involved with the Foundation: It creates a space for members to connect their professional identity to their philanthropic spirit.

YLN LC Members serve as ambassadors who promote the Foundation’s mission of furthering access to justice in DC by engaging in regular meetings, grantee site visits, and networking dinners with members of our Board of Directors. They are key partners in raising funds to support the work of DC legal aid providers by planning events like Lip Sync for Justice. When you join the YLN LC, you gain the opportunity to make a direct impact on your neighbors in need in the District.

We are now accepting applications for two-year terms beginning October 2019 and expiring September 2021. Please submit application materials to Greer Richey, Development and Communications Assistant, at by August 2 at 5 PM.


Fighting for DC’s Low-Income Residents & Affordable Housing

Fighting for DC’s Low-Income Residents & Affordable Housing

The DC Bar Foundation’s commitment to housing goes beyond our eviction defense program. We also invest in community redevelopment legal assistance, which supports residents in existing buildings where rents are increasing. When previously affordable housing becomes more expensive, it can drive low-income tenants out of their homes. In 2015, the DC Bar Foundation awarded three grants to address community redevelopment. Three more grants were added in 2016, and received additional funds awarded in 2017. The work continues today.

Recently, one of our grantees shared their story of working with a residents’ council for a proposed redevelopment of a complex that had been designated as affordable housing. The proposed redevelopment did not include a right to return for the complex’s displaced residents. It also featured fewer four- and five-bedroom units, and no six-bedroom units, in the new design.
Community lawyers worked with the residents to make their case against the proposed plan, and ultimately the Zoning Commission requested that the developer submit a revised plan to address these concerns.

In a city that has, according to a study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the highest ‘intensity’ of gentrification of any U.S. city with more than 20,000 African American residents displaced from 2000 through 2013, community redevelopment legal assistance is essential for keeping longtime District residents in their homes. Your support allows us to continue this vital work. To learn more about how your generosity makes an impact for our most vulnerable District neighbors, visit our website.

Letter from the Executive Director

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends:

Kat immigrated to the U.S. in 1992 as a refugee from Vietnam. For decades she worked to support herself by cleaning hotel rooms – a job in which she faced regular harassment and discrimination from co-workers based on her perceived sexual orientation. Kat was doing her best to fit in and stay safe, presenting herself as a gay man.

Kat was also managing HIV and other health conditions, which forced her to miss work on occasion. With an employer hostile to her health situation, she eventually faced termination.

Losing her job was a blessing and a curse. She relied on her health insurance but was too weak to continue working. Yet, no longer forced to hide her true self, Kat embraced her identity as a transgender woman. And as a longtime patient and client of Whitman-Walker Health in DC, she began working with their Transgender Legal Services Project – a DC Bar Foundation grantee partner.

Our grantee helped Kat apply for disability benefits. With their support, she persevered through several levels of appeals and finally prevailed. The Project also helped her obtain accurate identity documents, apply for naturalization, update her immigration records, and take the next step in her immigration case – becoming a U.S. citizen.

For DC residents like Kat, the Transgender Legal Services Project combats discrimination with life-changing access to legal resources and advocacy. Kat’s story is what this month – Pride Month – is all about.

And Kat is far from alone. DC is home to the nation’s highest percentage of trans-identified adults in the nation. A leading research institute report estimates that .03% of DC’s adult residents identify as transgender. That’s more than 17,000 of our neighbors.

At the DC Bar Foundation, we’re proud to partner with Whitman-Walker Health, one of the oldest medical-legal partnerships. Their holistic care coordinates health and legal needs. The Transgender Legal Services Project we fund provides advocacy specific to emerging transgender law issues, as well as access to all legal services, to this fast-growing segment of our community.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, our funding for this grantee ensures that DC’s trans residents get accurate identity documents for safely navigating everyday life, access to life-saving and gender-affirming health care, are not discriminatorily denied insurance coverage, can obtain disability benefits, can pursue lawful immigration status, and can secure basic needs. The Project holds employers accountable and helps clients stay employed in welcoming environments. They are truly advancing equal access to justice in the District.

Thousands of DC neighbors like Kat are counting on us to take a stand against discrimination. Thank you for joining us in that work during this Pride Month, and every month.


Kirra L. Jarratt
Executive Director

Partner Profile: Mikayla Sweet

Each month we highlight an individual working to make the justice system more accessible to DC residents. This month features Mikayla Sweet, Grants Manager at the DC Bar Foundation.

Years on the Job

5 months

Where did you grow up?

Lake Wylie, SC

What brought you to DC?

I knew I wanted to work in the nonprofit sector, and DC is the best location for that. I moved right after I finished my undergraduate degree.

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

I was a fundraiser for an international child sponsorship organization. I learned a lot more about developing nations and how the work of a few can positively impact the lives of many.

Daily habit

Not wearing the outfit I laid out the night before.

Favorite app


Favorite movie

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Favorite restaurant

Mi Cuba Café

Favorite vacation spot

A cabin in some secluded mountains

Guilty pleasure

Shake Shack

One item from your bucket list

Open a Cookout franchise in Adams Morgan, DC


Cooking, reading, gardening


My dad

Your news source(s)

WaPo #DemocracyDiesInDarnkess

One thing (other than your phone) you never leave your house without is…


If I weren’t working the DC Bar Foundation, I would be…

Hopefully rich and traveling the world.

Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council Call for Applications

[District of Columbia, May 28, 2019] – The DC Bar Foundation seeks applications for new members of its Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council (YLN LC). Applications for two-year terms starting October 1, 2019 and expiring September 30, 2021 are due by 5:00 PM on Friday, August 2, 2019.

The YLN LC offers younger attorneys an opportunity to further the goal of access to justice in our community by working with the DC Bar Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to fund, support, and improve legal representation of the poor, vulnerable, and otherwise disadvantaged in the District of Columbia. Members of the YLN LC serve as ambassadors who promote the Foundation’s mission and programs by engaging in regular meetings, grantee site visits, and quarterly networking dinners. The group is also actively involved in the organization’s fundraising efforts, through hosting an annual event, Lip Sync for Justice, that provides critical support to low-income DC residents in need of legal representation. We invite all interested applicants to attend this year’s Lip Sync for Justice event – happening on June 6 from 6 – 9 PM at Arnold & Porter – to meet the DC Bar Foundation team and current members of the YLN LC.

To qualify for consideration, individuals must be members of the District of Columbia Bar in good standing, under the age of 40 at the start of their term, either live or work in the District of Columbia, and commit to carrying out the responsibilities of the YLN LC. Staff of LRAP-eligible employers, or of organizations eligible to receive funding from the DC Bar Foundation, are ineligible for membership.

Interested applicants should submit a completed application form, résumé, letter of interest, and up to two letters of support that speak to their commitment to advance the District’s civil legal services network. Please send all materials to Greer Richey, Development and Communications Assistant, at Please include “Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council, [Your Full Name]” in the subject line of the email. Additional information about the YLN LC is available on the Foundation’s website at

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.