U.S. Representative Donovan Joins Legal Services NYC to Announce Grants Benefiting Veterans, Low-Income Families

September 28, 2017

NEW YORK – Representative Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. (NY-11) will join legal aid leaders on September 29 to announce that Legal Services NYC will receive a $351,387 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant and a $102,750 Technology Initiative Grant from the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The event will take place at Legal Services NYC’s Staten Island office.  

LSC President Jim Sandman and Legal Services NYC staff including Executive Director Raun Rasmussen, Staten Island Project Director Nancy Goldhill, and Pro Bono Services Director Adam Heintz will join Representative Donovan in making the announcement.  

Representative Donovan congratulated Legal Services NYC on the awards and praised the organization’s work. “The assistance provided by Legal Services NYC, particularly to veterans who are in need of legal counseling, is incredibly valuable,” said Donovan. “As a former prosecutor, I know that navigating complex legal issues can be daunting. It’s a true service to the community that the less fortunate, including those who risked their lives for our country, can rely on Legal Services NYC.”

LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand robust pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients. “We are grateful to Congress for establishing the Pro Bono Innovation Fund to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “This grant program stimulates more volunteer participation in legal aid and allows our grantees to serve more people.”

This grant will fund Legal Services NYC’s “Military Mondays” project, which brings together corporations, law firms, and legal services organizations to assist low-income veterans.  In partnership with global law firms and Fortune 500 companies including Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Starbucks, BNY Mellon, and Marsh & McLennan, Legal Services NYC will provide needed legal assistance to low-income veterans. Through a combination of monthly legal clinics and ongoing representation, pro bono attorneys and Legal Services NYC staff will help veterans with pressing issues including disability benefits, safe and affordable housing, and child support.

The project’s goal is to serve as a model for engaging significant numbers of new pro bono volunteers from corporations and law firms on behalf of veterans and other low-income people. To facilitate replication, Legal Services NYC will create a “start-up kit” for other legal services organizations that wish to launch similar initiatives. Legal Services NYC is one of 15 recipients of grants from LSC’s $4 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund.

Legal Services NYC will use its Technology Initiative Grant to improve technology used in its Housing Repair and Harassment clinics. The project will integrate LawHelp Interactive—a tool that generates legal forms based on self-represented litigants’ answers to a series of questions—with JustFix.nyc, which provides an online platform to help New Yorkers facing neglectful housing situations.

Established in 2000, LSC’s Technology Initiative Grant program supports projects that develop and replicate technologies to improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. The program distributes up to $4 million annually to LSC-funded legal aid organizations. Legal Services NYC is receiving one of 25 technology grants this year.

The news conference will begin at 11:15 a.m. at Legal Services NYC’s Staten Island office, 36 Richmond Terrace, Suite 205.  

Contact: Kate Whalen, 646-442-3654, kwhalen@lsnyc.org.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.