2020 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant Recipients

August 20, 2020

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that 19 legal aid organizations will receive Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4,347,185 to expand pro bono legal services to low-income individuals. 

The funded projects will engage pro bono lawyers and other volunteers to better meet civil legal needs. These projects offer innovative and replicable solutions to persistent challenges in current pro bono delivery systems.

Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly strengthen their pro bono efforts. Eight current Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Members of Congress congratulated legal aid providers in their states on receiving grants.

“Pro bono work can make a life-changing difference in someone’s life,” said Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. “I’m pleased this federal funding will support Legal Aid Chicago and their important work in disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. I’ll continue working to support the Legal Services Corporation’s mission to ensure that all people have fair and equal access to our system of justice.”

“It’s great news that Bay Area Legal Services was awarded this Pro Bono Innovation Grant, which will help increase access to pro bono legal aid for low-income disaster survivors,” said Florida Senator Marco Rubio. “Underserved and low-income communities have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I will continue to do everything I can to ensure an equitable recovery for these communities.”

Many of the projects seek to remove barriers to success facing low-income Americans. Southeast Louisiana Legal Services’ funded project will help low-income tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic who experience security deposit theft.  

Pro bono funding for Bay Area Legal Services will allow the organization to better meet the legal needs of disaster survivors in the Tampa Bay region. Georgia Legal Services Program will use its grant to reach low-income individuals living in rural areas of the state who otherwise have limited access to legal help.

Several of the funded projects will focus on increasing the recruitment and training of pro bono attorneys and more effectively working with existing partners. For example, Legal Services Vermont will use its grant to build a coordinated and centralized infrastructure for statewide pro bono efforts.

“Pro bono assistance enables legal aid programs to leverage their limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “These grants fund innovative and replicable projects that promote this leverage and enable legal aid programs to help many more people in need.”

 LSC awarded these grants from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million.  

The recipients of new 2020 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants are:

Florida

Bay Area Legal Services ($286,426)  

Georgia 

Georgia Legal Services Program ($358,305)

Illinois

Legal Aid Chicago ($302,515)

Louisiana

Acadiana Legal Service Corporation ($221,552)

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services ($170,616)

Michigan

Michigan Advocacy Program ($358,600)

Montana

Montana Legal Services Association ($223,181)

New Jersey

Northeast New Jersey Legal Services ($423,074)

New York

Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. ($207,233)

Legal Services of the Hudson Valley ($211,244)

Vermont

Legal Services Vermont ($375,970)


Bay Area Legal Services
Awarded $286,426 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Bay Area Legal Services in Florida will receive a $286,426 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

“Pro bono assistance enables Bay Area Legal Services to leverage its limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “This grant will promote this leverage and help Bay Area Legal Services to assist many more people in need.”

Bay Area Legal Services will use the grant to support its Tampa Bay Disaster Relief Pro Bono Initiative. The project will increase access to pro bono disaster relief legal aid for 200 low-income disaster survivors residing in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties. It will work to engage 65 pro bono volunteers in disaster relief legal assistance by employing disaster-related legal training and improved technologies. The project’s goal is to deliver high-quality client legal services in the event of a disaster.

“Considering the disaster-prone region in which we serve clients, we’ve long been concerned with the unique challenges associated with disaster relief related legal issues and the pronounced impact on vulnerable populations,” said Bay Area Legal Services President/CEO Richard C. Woltmann. “With this new funding, we are now equipped to effectively serve clientele suffering from a wide range of these issues. We are truly excited about the opportunity of expanding our ability to better assist disaster victims and anticipate a significant positive impact on the community as a whole.”

Members of the Florida congressional delegation congratulated Bay Area Legal Services on the grant.

“It’s great news that Bay Area Legal Services was awarded this Pro Bono Innovation Grant, which will help increase access to pro bono legal aid for low-income disaster survivors,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio said. “Underserved and low-income communities have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I will continue to do everything I can to ensure an equitable recovery for these communities.”

“Bay Area Legal Services does a tremendous job providing legal representation and advice to economically disadvantaged constituents. I was pleased to support inclusion of this grant program in a recent appropriations package, as there has been an increased demand for this type of resource in light of the pandemic-related economic conditions.  I am thrilled to see expanded availability of these critical services within our community,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12). 

 “Communities across the Sunshine State know how difficult it is to bounce back from natural disasters like hurricanes and flooding, but relief is even more difficult to come by for our low-income neighbors,” said Congressman Charlie Crist (FL-13). “This grant will secure access to legal aid for hundreds who call Pinellas home and is essential in helping survivors get back on their feet. From securing temporary housing, to filing insurance claims, to navigating complicated legal situations, and more, this funding will go a long way in helping those in need in the Tampa Bay Area.”

Bay Area Legal Services is one of 19 legal aid organizations this year receiving Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4,347,185. Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly expand their pro bono efforts and eight current Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LSC awarded this grant from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million. 

 

Georgia Legal Services Program Awarded $358,305 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Georgia Legal Services Program will receive a $358,305 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

Georgia Legal Services Program will use the grant to build an organization-wide pro bono unit that can leverage large private firm and corporate pro bono resources in the Atlanta metro area to serve rural Georgians throughout the organization’s service area. Staff members will also develop a pilot project to use remote service delivery to reach clients living in areas without lawyers known as legal deserts.

“Pro bono assistance enables Georgia Legal Services Program to leverage its limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “This grant will promote this leverage and help Georgia Legal Services Program to assist many more people in need.”

 Members of the Georgia congressional delegation congratulated Georgia Legal Services Program on the grant.

“Georgia Legal Services Program provides crucial legal services to communities that often have little to no access to representation in our court system,” said Rep. Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr. (GA-04). “I’m proud GLSP received this latest grant to help rural Georgians, and I know they will put the funds to good use to balance the scales of justice and offer fair representation in our court system, from landlord tenant to small business cases.” 

“I am very pleased by this development. The right to legal representation is a cornerstone of our justice system and this grant will help rural Georgians better access the best legal services available,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. (GA-2).

Georgia Legal Services Program is one of 19 recipients of Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4,347,185. Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly expand their pro bono efforts and eight current Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LSC awarded this grant from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million. 

Legal Aid Chicago Awarded $302,515 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Legal Aid Chicago will receive a $302,515 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

Legal Aid Chicago will use the grant to support its Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline project, which assists at-risk youth by helping them complete high school and gain employment or further education. Legal Aid Chicago will engage law firms, corporations and solo practitioners to provide representation for hearings on expulsions and create petitions for juvenile expungement. Staff members will conduct outreach virtually and in person to ensure parents and students understand their legal rights.

Additionally, Legal Aid Chicago will build e-learning modules to train volunteers on racial disparities in school discipline and the substantive laws and procedures they need to know to represent clients in both expulsion and expungement cases.

“Pro bono assistance enables Legal Aid to leverage its limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “This grant will promote this leverage and help Chicago Legal Aid to assist many more people in need.”

Members of the Illinois congressional delegation congratulated Legal Aid Chicago on the grant.

“Pro bono work can make a life-changing difference in someone’s life,” said Senator Dick Durbin (IL). “I’m pleased this federal funding will support Legal Aid Chicago and their important work in disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. I’ll continue working to support the Legal Services Corporation’s mission to ensure that all people have fair and equal access to our system of justice.”

“Children deserve second chances to fulfill their true potential. Unfortunately, heavy-handed, frequently biased policing coupled with the prohibitive cost of legal representation traps at-risk youth in a vicious cycle where past mistakes disproportionately define their futures. I offer my congratulations to Legal Aid Chicago for receiving a Pro Bono Innovation Fund drant to support their work providing young people the services they need to get a fresh start,” said Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-4)

“I am thrilled that the Legal Services Corporation selected Legal Aid Chicago to receive a Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant of $302,515,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9). “Legal Aid Chicago has supported and advocated for our communities for decades, helping people avoid homelessness, ensuring people with disabilities can access services and supports, and protecting workers’ rights. This critical grant funding will help Legal Aid Chicago provide assistance to at-risk youth and help them graduate high school. It will ensure that Chicagoland youth have access to a safe, equitable, and effective education and employment opportunities. I am so grateful for Legal Aid Chicago’s work and I am excited to see all of the good they do with this funding.”

Legal Aid Chicago is one of 19 legal aid organizations this year receiving Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4,347,185. Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly expand their pro bono efforts and eight current Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LSC awarded these grants from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million. 

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and Acadiana Legal Service Corporation Awarded Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grants

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Acadiana Legal Service Corporation will receive a $221,552 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services will receive a $170,616 grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D., congratulated Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and Acadiana Legal Services Corporation on the grants.

“The Constitution guarantees everyone the right to an attorney. These grants allow these organizations to provide services to low-income residents who may otherwise be unable to get the legal support they deserve,” said Dr. Cassidy. 

Acadiana Legal Service Corporation will use the grant to evaluate its pro bono workflow and infrastructure to improve accountability, case referrals and handling in collaboration with bar-sponsored programs. The organization will launch a redesigned intake and pro bono system that will quickly and efficiently connect more clients to pro bono partners and volunteers. It will also conduct a pilot project with local libraries to better connect rural clients and pro bono attorneys.

 Southeast Louisiana Legal Services will use its grant to develop a clinic to help low-income tenants in New Orleans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic who experience security deposit theft. The clinic will engage pro bono attorneys, a corporate legal department and law students through limited scope and/or extended representation opportunities at all stages of a security deposit theft case, including demand, negotiation, court representation and judgment collection.

"Pro bono assistance enables Acadiana Legal Service Corporation and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services to leverage their limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “These grants will promote this leverage and help these organizations to assist many more people in need.”

Acadiana Legal Service Corporation and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services are two of 19 legal aid organizations this year receiving Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4,347,185. Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly expand their pro bono efforts and eight current Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LSC awarded these grants from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million. 

 

Michigan Advocacy Program Awarded $358,600 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that the Michigan Advocacy Program will receive a $358,600 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

The Michigan Advocacy Program will use the grant to elevate and integrate pro bono in the organization’s broader service delivery model. The project aims to modernize pro bono data tracking, referrals and reporting systems with the new case management system in Michigan. To enhance efficiency, the Michigan Advocacy Program will identify needed technology and reporting capacity, update its pro bono attorney roster and integrate individual, local pro bono management with a centralized, program-wide pro bono system. 

“Pro bono assistance enables the Michigan Advocacy Program to leverage its limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “This grant will promote this leverage and help the Michigan Advocacy Program to assist many more people in need.”

“Access to justice is essential if we are to have due process in this country. But sadly, there are just too many barriers that remain," said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12). "There’s no substitute for a competent lawyer, and now more than ever people must have access to proper legal counsel to ensure their rights are protected. That’s why I’m so pleased that the Michigan Advocacy Project received this critical grant from the Legal Services Corporation. With technology and communication systems transforming every day, it’s imperative that technology in the legal community is modern so people have an easy, reliable way to find legal counsel when they need it."

The Michigan Advocacy Program is one of 19 recipients of Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4,347,185. Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly expand their pro bono efforts and eight current Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LSC awarded this grant from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million. 

 

Montana Legal Services Association Awarded $223,181 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) will receive a $223,181 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

MLSA will use the grant to support its Second Act Justice Project, a pro bono program for emeritus state bar members to provide legal services to low-income Montanans and mentor MLSA staff attorneys. In the first 18 months of the project, volunteers have served more than 459 clients and donated 1,391 pro bono hours. The project has expanded the scope and breadth of legal issues that MLSA staff can assist clients with.

MLSA will continue to develop a pro bono and donor recruitment strategy and create a training curriculum to focus on more extended legal services.

“Pro bono assistance enables Montana Legal Services Association to leverage its limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “This grant will promote this leverage and help Montana Legal Services Association to assist many more people in need.”

“Without pro bono services, many Montana families would be unable to get the legal help they need without breaking the bank,” said Senator Jon Tester (MT). “The Montana Legal Services Association has worked tirelessly to ensure that all Montanans, no matter their income, have access to quality legal representation, while also encouraging more lawyers to do pro bono work. I am proud to have fought for this funding, which will be critical to ensuring MLSA can keep helping folks across the state, as well as take on a higher volume of cases and continue developing programs that extend their services even further.”

Montana Legal Services Association is one of 19 legal aid organizations this year receiving Pro Bono Innovation fund grants totaling $4,347,185. Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly expand their pro bono efforts and eight current Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LSC awarded this grant from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million. 

 

Northeast New Jersey Legal Services Awarded $423,074 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant 

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Northeast New Jersey Legal Services will receive a $423,074 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

Northeast New Jersey Legal Services will use the grant to build a replicable and scalable model for pro bono services and tackle current challenges. This grant will allow the organization to conduct a pilot program, scale up the program’s impact by increasing opportunities for pro bono volunteers to become involved in cases and hire a data analyst to assist with this transition.

“Pro bono assistance enables Northeast New Jersey Legal Services to leverage its limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “This grant will promote this leverage and help Northeast New Jersey Legal Services to assist many more people in need.”

Members of the New Jersey congressional delegation congratulated Northeast New Jersey Legal Services on receiving the grant.

“Too often the ability to pay has prevented people from seeking legal counsel and protecting their own rights. Offering free, pro bono services for those who can’t afford a lawyer is vital to leveling the playing field in housing, employment, consumer, domestic and other disputes and to make sure the legal system works for everyone. It’s especially important during the pandemic that people know their rights and they are protected from those who seek to take advantage,” said New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. “This federal funding will support Northeast New Jersey Legal Services’ efforts to expand pro bono services and help residents of Hudson, Bergen and Passaic Counties get the legal representation they need, regardless of their income.”

“Congratulations to Northeast New Jersey Legal Services for being selected for this Pro Bono Innovation Grant,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10). “We have worked with them often to help low to middle-income residents of our district obtain free or fee-reduced legal services for a variety of issues, such as housing and immigration. It has been a great community partner in the past and I know these funds will strengthen that partnership for the future.”

Northeast New Jersey Legal Services is one of 19 legal aid organizations this year receiving Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4,347,185. Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly expand their pro bono efforts and eight existing Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LSC awarded this grant from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million. 

 

Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. and Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Awarded Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grants

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. will receive a $207,233 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant and Legal Services of the Hudson Valley will receive a $211,244 grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York will use its grant to address the gap in consumer-bankruptcy services in Syracuse and surrounding counties. Volunteer attorneys will triage cases, screen and advise clients who will then be referred to pro bono attorneys, a bankruptcy clinic at Syracuse University School of Law or pro se legal clinics.

The organization will also develop an online screening and referral tool to identify candidates for student loan discharge. This tool will be created in partnership with Upsolve.org, a nonprofit that provides free online bankruptcy assistance. Where appropriate, student loan litigation will be filed with pro bono co-counsel. 

 Legal Services of the Hudson Valley will use its grant to support its pro bono housing project. The goal is to engage pro bono litigators to represent clients in complex housing court cases and administrative hearings. In the first 18 months of the project, pro bono attorneys provided approximately 725 hours of free legal services to more than 100 clients. The organization also trained more than 75 large firm volunteers and created partnerships with prominent law firms.

 With this additional funding, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley aims to provide 700 hours or more of pro bono representation, provide at least 90% of cases assigned by the project with full legal representation and delay or prevent evictions in 90% of the assigned cases.

“Pro bono assistance enables Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. and Legal Services of the Hudson Valley to leverage their limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “These grants will promote this leverage and help these organizations to assist many more people in need.”

 Rep. Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) and Rep. John Katko (NY-24) congratulated Legal Aid of Mid-New York, Inc. on receiving the grant.

“As Upstate New Yorkers continue to respond to the challenges of this public health crisis, access to adequate legal representation is more important than ever, especially for low-income communities. Everyone has the right to legal representation and this grant from the Legal Services Corporation will help level the playing field for low-income Upstate New Yorkers,” said Rep. Brindisi. “This grant money will help connect people in our area with the help they need to get through hard times and give them the right tools to get back on their feet. I was proud to play a role in securing this grant money for Legal Aid of Mid-New York, Inc. and I know these dollars will make a difference in the lives of hardworking Upstate New Yorkers.” 

“I’m pleased to announce the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. has received $207,233 in funds through the Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant,” said Rep. Katko. “In Congress, I was proud to lead a bipartisan effort to increase funds for this vital grant program. Since its inception, the grant has empowered volunteer attorneys to fill gaps in consumer bankruptcy and other important legal services. With these new funds, the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. will be better equipped to continue advising Central New Yorkers and have the resources needed to develop an online tool to identify candidates for student loan discharge.” 

Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. and Legal Services of the Hudson Valley are two of 19 legal aid organizations this year receiving Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4,347,185. Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly expand their pro bono efforts and eight current Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LSC awarded these grants from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million. 

 

Legal Services Vermont Awarded $375,970 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant 

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Legal Services Vermont will receive a $375,970 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

Legal Services Vermont will use the grant to build a coordinated, centralized and sustainable infrastructure for statewide pro bono efforts in Vermont. It will collaborate with key stakeholders to develop and implement a robust statewide pro bono system using best practices for recruitment, flexible volunteer venues and effective data tracking to expand access to justice for low-income families in the state.

“Pro bono assistance enables Legal Services Vermont to leverage its limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “This grant will promote this leverage and help Legal Services Vermont to assist many more people in need.”

 Members of the Vermont congressional delegation congratulated Legal Services of Vermont on the grant.

“Legal Services Vermont is most deserving of this award, and it could not have come at a more critical time,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT). “The COVID pandemic has upended the lives of thousands of Vermonters, and those who suddenly find themselves in need of pro bono legal help should be able to get it. With this funding, LSV will work to create a more comprehensive system to meet the urgent needs of low-income Vermonters. We know that investing in these programs saves money in the long run. As Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to support the essential work of the Legal Services Corporation and the state programs it supports.”

“Proper legal representation is a part of the foundation of a just and equal society,” said Rep. Peter Welch (VT-At Large). “Quality legal representation has become harder to provide during the coronavirus pandemic, just as many Vermonters face higher medical bills, trouble with public assistance or trouble paying their mortgage. In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to make sure that Vermonters receive quality legal representation, regardless of where they live or how much money they have. I applaud the work of LSC and Legal Services Vermont to offer Vermonters the representation that they are entitled to, free of charge.”

Legal Services Vermont is one of 19 recipients of Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4,347,185. Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly expand their pro bono efforts and eight current Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LSC awarded these grants from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million.  

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.