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Grants to Washington, DC Nonprofits to Provide
Civil Legal Services to Low-Income Residents

General Support Grants Program - DC Legal Services Grants Program

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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DC Bar Foundation (DCBF)

Deadline Date:

09/15/22 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to Washington, DC nonprofit legal aid organizations for operating support. Funding is intended to assist organizations that provide free civil legal services to residents. The purpose of this program is to increase access to justice for low-income populations, as well as for special populations including but not limited to
individuals in correctional facilities, individuals living in or fleeing from violence, and homeless individuals.

A strong application will demonstrate that the applying organization:

  1. Seeks to identify and respond to the most pressing civil legal needs of the low-income people it serves;
  2. Has systems in place to assure appropriate supervision, training, and development of its staff, applies feedback obtained from stakeholders and clients to evaluate and improve organization effectiveness and quality;
  3. Integrates pro bono attorneys and others to supplement and increase the effectiveness of its representation and other services;
  4. Provides other services designed to increase the accessibility of legal services to DC residents with low incomes, such as assistance with self-help strategies, legal information through its website or other channels, community legal education; and,
  5. Engages with other important stakeholders working on behalf of or serving its targeted client population, such as the judiciary, government agencies, and social services agencies.

A strong application for private funding will also demonstrate that the organization:

  1. Has adequate capacity for delivering the services that are proposed, as indicated by experience in providing services similar to those being proposed, related current work that will be supported or enhanced by the proposed services, and other factors.
  2. Has a high likelihood of sustainability, taking into account such factors as potential funding sources beyond DCBF, a track record of successful fundraising, a longer-term service delivery strategy, and other factors.

Applications that address one or more of the following criteria will be given priority (all other factors being equal):

  1. Is likely to expand the number of DC residents who are provided legal assistance.
  2. Seeks to avoid duplication of services being provided in the District, in the same issue area, or to the same special population segments as those being proposed.
  3. Is likely to make legal assistance more accessible to DC residents.
  4. Is likely to expand pro bono participation by recruiting, training, and supervising law firm attorneys to help deliver free legal assistance to DC residents.
  5. Is likely to leverage DCBF resources by applying them strategically to expand efforts by other service providers. 
  6. Is likely to provide services that are NOT supported by other funding sources.
  7. Will test innovative approaches for achieving the above priorities.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163210

Term of Contract:

The DC Bar Foundation will award grant funding for the General Support Grants Program, for the grant year January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Legal aid providers located in the District of Columbia are eligible. Qualified recipients must:
1. Be a not-for-profit DC corporation;
2. Have tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
3. Operate primarily within the District of Columbia;
4. Be located within the District of Columbia; and,
5. Have as a primary purpose the provision of civil legal services to District residents with low incomes.*

*An organization meets the primary purpose test if the majority of its total organizational resources and/or legal services department or project are spent on the delivery of civil legal services to low-income District residents without charge.

“Low-income” is calculated by using the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) income limits that determine the eligibility for District residents for HUD’s assisted housing programs.

“District resident” is defined as any individual with a residential address in the District of Columbia. DCBF may accept an organization’s reasonable functional alternatives to this definition to the extent that DCBF determines such functional alternatives are consistent with the goal of increasing access to justice in the District for special populations, including but not limited to individuals in correctional facilities, individuals living in or fleeing from violence, and homeless individuals.

Funding will be provided to civil legal aid organizations that have systems in place that align with widely accepted industry standards for promoting quality, efficiency, and effectiveness in the delivery of civil legal aid, including methods for self-assessment to provide feedback regarding the extent to which those systems are achieving their desired purpose.

Pre-Application Information:

The online application and grants management system will become available no later than September 2. New applicants should follow the instructions here to create an account:

- September 2, 2022: Potential Grantees can begin submitting grant applications in SmartSimple
- Applications are due at 11:59 pm ET Thursday, September 15, 2022.
- December 2022: Awards announced

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register and apply online via SmartSimple:

Online application portal:

For questions, please contact

DC Bar Foundation
655 New York Ave., NW, 6th Floor
Washington, Dc 20001
Tel. 202.467.3750

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Washington, DC

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