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FY 2022 and 2023 IOLA Grant

Grants to New York Nonprofits to Provide High-Quality
Free Legal Services to Low-Income Clients

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Interest on Lawyer Account (IOLA) Fund of the State of New York

Deadline Date:

01/22/21 12:00 PM ET


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Grants to New York nonprofit organizations to provide free high-quality legal services to low-income clients. Interested applicants are required to pre-register prior to applying. Funding is intended to support programs such as alternative dispute resolution programs, pro bono services, technical assistance programs, specialized legal services, and staff attorney programs.

The IOLA Fund’s mission is to support those qualified non-profit organizations throughout New York State that will most efficiently and effectively provide stable, economical and high quality civil legal representation to eligible low-income clients and that will improve the administration of justice.

In furtherance of its mission, and in recognition that no single program can satisfy the documented unmet need for civil legal services, IOLA supports a variety of programs to ensure the delivery of a full range of civil legal services to low income New Yorkers through a comprehensive, well-coordinated statewide system. Such programs include, but are not limited to: staff attorney programs, pro bono programs, specialized legal services programs, multi-service programs, alternative dispute resolution programs and support and technical assistance programs for the legal services delivery system.

To accomplish its mission, the IOLA Fund administers two grant programs:

1. Civil Legal Services (CLS) Grant Program

The Civil Legal Services Program funds organizations that provide direct civil legal services in multiple areas of poverty law (for example, housing, family, public benefits) to poor persons residing in a particular geographic areas. Legal services are provided free of charge. The most common categories of cases handled by CLS programs are family, housing, income maintenance, consumer, health and employment. CLS grant awards are for general operating support. 

By statute, the Fund allocates no less than 75% of its total annual funding to the CLS grant program and bases those awards on the poverty population according to the latest available figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

2. Administration of Justice (AOJ) Grant Program

Awards are made to providers of legal services to underserved groups and other groups with special needs. In addition to legal services, the AOJ awards support training, program innovations, alternative dispute resolution programs, volunteer lawyer programs and technology improvements to enhance service delivery. The Program funds organizations that fall in one of the following four categories: The organization provides legal services principally through the pro bono model; the organization provides direct civil legal services to a particular demographic group such as domestic violence victims, the disabled, the elderly, homeless persons, immigrants and others; the organization provides training, technical assistance or other supportive services to civil legal services providers; the organization provides legal or support services through the innovative use of technology.

The IOLA Fund generally gives priority to programs that already receive IOLA grant funds. However, the Trustees encourage applications from other programs engaged in the provision of civil legal services if the need, client population, or geographic area that it serves is not addressed by existing programs. The Trustees also encourage applications from innovative programs that help expand access to equal justice for poor persons.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 170077

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Total Program Funding:
New York State Finance Law 97-v requires the Trustees to allocate no less than 75% of the total grant funds available to qualified civil legal services (“CLS”) providers and no more than 25% of the total grant funds available to programs that improve the administration of justice (“AOJ”).

Term of Contract:

Grants will be awarded for the twenty-four month period beginning April 1, 2021 and ending March 31, 2023.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Organizations qualified to receive IOLA grants must meet all of the following:
- Be nonprofit entities, tax-exempt under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code;
- Operate within New York State;
- Have an audit mechanism that provides accountability for IOLA funds;
- Agree to satisfy, on a timely basis, all of IOLA’s reporting requirements, including the submission of certified financial statements; and
- Provide legal services as a CLS or AOJ provider.


- Civil Legal Services (CLS) – Provide direct civil legal services in multiple substantive areas without charge to low income persons within particular geographical areas in New York State. By statute, CLS awards are based on the poverty population in New York State according to the “latest available figures” from the US Census Bureau. Applicants should refer to “Poverty Population and IOLA Unit Map” included with this application and posted on the Fund’s website.

Multi-Unit CLS – If an applicant, based upon its review of the Trustees regulations, thinks it may qualify as a CLS provider and if the applicant provides significant services in more than one of IOLA’s seven geographical units, the applicant should indicate in Section C.6. of its application the approximate percentages of expenditures and services provided in each unit in the prior fiscal year as well as the approximate percentages of expenditures and services estimated to be provided in the next fiscal year.

- Administration of Justice (AOJ) – Provides services that seek to:
(a) Enhance civil legal services to low income persons through innovative and cost-effective means;
(b) Provide direct civil legal services either to groups of clients currently underserved by legal services (such as the elderly or disabled), or in an area of representation (whether substantive or geographical) that cannot be or is not effectively served by individual qualified legal services providers;
(c) Provide legal, management or operational training, or legal, management, support service, or technical assistance, or direct legal assistance, informational advocacy or litigation support to qualified legal services providers; or
(d) Otherwise promote the improvement of the administration of justice.

Subject to certain exceptions and circumstances, persons eligible to receive legal services with IOLA funds are limited to those whose incomes do not exceed 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

IOLA funds may not be used for any of the following purposes:
(1) Legal assistance with respect to any criminal proceeding or any action in the nature of habeas corpus collaterally attacking a criminal conviction
(2) Political purposes
(3) Endowment campaign support

Pre-Application Information:

Deadline: 12:00 pm ET, Friday, January 22, 2021

Any and all questions regarding the application process must be submitted via email and be received by the Fund on or before 4:00 PM, Friday, January 8, 2021. Oral questions will not be accepted or answered. Questions received after the deadline may not be answered. IOLA will post on its website a final and comprehensive list of all questions and answers by January 15, 2021.

Anticipated Award Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021

All Applicants must be registered with Grants Gateway and be Prequalified at the time and date that the application is due. If you are not Prequalified at that time and date, your application will not be considered. For more information about Grants Gateway and Prequalification, please visit the Grants Gateway website ( or contact the Grants Management Team.

Applicants are strongly urged to submit applications at least 48 hours in advance of the deadline to allow for uploading documents to the Grants Gateway.

IOLA will accept only one application from each organization.

View this opportunity on the New York State Grants Gateway site:


Contact Information:

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

Email questions regarding the application process (for posting on site) to

Colleen Fehringer

- Grants Management Team:
- Grants Reform help desk/hotline: (518) 474-5595.

IOLA Fund of the State of New York
11 East 44th Street, Suite #1406
New York, NY 10017
(646) 865-1541

Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York

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