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2020 Private Grants Program

Grants to Washington, DC Nonprofits to Provide
Civil Legal Services to Disadvantaged Groups

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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DC Bar Foundation (DCBF)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

08/23/19 12:00 PM ET


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Grants to Washington, DC nonprofit legal service organizations providing free civil legal services to low-income populations for operating support. Funding is intended to increase access to justice in the District to disadvantaged people, including but not limited to individuals in correctional facilities, individuals living in or fleeing from violence, and homeless individuals. Grants help cover overhead costs, such as rent and client record databases, which are not always covered by other grants these organizations receive.

A strong proposal 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 accessibility of legal services to low-income DC residents, 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 proposal 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.

Proposals 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 and/or provide services that could NOT potentially be supported by other funding sources.
6. Will test innovative approaches for achieving the above priorities.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163210

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Term of Contract:

The grant year will run from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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 low-income residents of DC.

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.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The 2020 Grants Information Session will be held on July 30, 2019 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

RSVP here, by July 25:

Pre-Application Information:

Applications are due by 12:00 pm ET on Friday, August 23, 2019.

Awards will be announced in mid-December 2019.

- Monday, July 1, 2019: Application released
- Tuesday, July 30, 2019: Information session regarding 2020 ATJ and Private
funding. RSVP by July 25, 2:30 - 4:30.
- Friday, August 23, 2019: Application due by 12:00 pm EST
- Week of September 23, 2019: Interviews for new applicants and new projects
- December 2019 Awards announced
- Friday, December 13, 2019: Revised project budgets due (if applicable)
- Friday, December 20, 2019: Signed grant agreements due
- Monday, January 1, 2020: Grant year begins

Application instructions:

Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

If you have any questions regarding the Private Grants Program, how to apply, or the monitoring and evaluation processes, please contact

DC Bar Foundation
80 M Street SE, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20003
P: 202-467-3750
F: 202-467-3753

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Washington, DC