In March 2011, LSC’s Board of Directors formed a Pro Bono Task Force to address the current crisis in legal services where at least 50% of eligible low-income individuals seeking help from LSC-funded organizations are turned away because of insufficient resources, and 80% of the civil legal needs of low-income people are unmet.
After a year of research, the Task Force issued a report with recommendations to increase the number of pro bono lawyers and other volunteers who are available to provide legal assistance for low-income people.
One of the Task Force’s key recommendations was that LSC create an Innovation Fund to encourage new ideas for engaging pro bono assistance to narrow the justice gap.
On January 17, 2014, the President of United States signed P.L. 113-76, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which included $2.5 million for LSC to establish a new grant making program called the Pro Bono Innovation Fund.
The Pro Bono Innovation Fund will provide grants for LSC grantees that address three core goals:
1. Engage more lawyers in pro bono service
Pro Bono Innovation Fund projects will focus on increasing the number of lawyers and other volunteers that provide pro bono service.
2. Address gaps in legal services
Pro Bono Innovation Fund projects will use pro bono resources to serve low-income clients whose critical legal needs are not being met.
3. Addressing persistent challenges in pro bono delivery systems
Pro Bono Innovation Fund projects will seek to: