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Legal Assistance for the Poor

Legal Assistance for the Poor

Overview

Supported primarily by IOTA funds, the Foundation's Legal Assistance for the Poor general support grants are awarded to a network of about 31 local, not-for-profit legal aid programs. Together, this network provides at least basic access to the justice system for individuals and families residing in every county in Florida. Grants support a broad range of legal assistance for low-income Floridians, including family law, housing, individual rights, consumer, and income maintenance. Funding levels for general support grants are based on the number of poor persons in the county who meet financial eligibility guidelines. LAP grants also support legal assistance for specific client services and to serve specific client groups.

Grantmaking Policies and Criteria

The Foundation has adopted general funding and grantmaking policies that guide and direct the grant decisions and grantmaking process. The Foundation has also adopted specific eligibility criteria for its LAP grants. Generally these require, among other things, that applicants be tax-exempt organizations, that eligible clients have incomes below 125% of the federal poverty level and that applicants be staffed by a full-time attorney or have access to the equivalent of a full-time attorney. Grant applications are reviewed by Foundation staff. Staff recommendations are submitted to the Foundation's Legal Assistance for the Poor Grant Committee for review and consideration. The committee makes grant recommendations to the Foundation's board of directors for final decision.

Grantee Program Assessment

The Foundation has developed an intensive program assessment process of grantees in order to assess the quality of services provided to clients, make key decisions about future funding, achieve closer links between local bars and the IOTA program, assist legal services providers to improve delivery, and ensure that IOTA funds provide efficient and effective services to those in need. Periodic statistical and other narrative reports, financial audits, on-site visits and on-going information sharing and contacts are included within these activities.

For more information, contact Melissa Pershing, Director of Grant Programs, or write The Florida Bar Foundation, 875 Concourse Parkway South, Suite 195, Maitland, FL 32751, or call (407) 960-7000 or 1 (800) 541-2195.

 

Giving Opportunities

Fellows are life members of The Florida Bar Foundation; core supporters who believe in the value of justice and the importance of the Foundation’s leadership and charitable programs. If you haven’t already done so, please consider making your Fellows pledge.

IOTA Program Information

The Interest on Trust Accounts (IOTA) program was implemented by the Florida Supreme Court in 1981. The nation’s first IOTA program, it serves as a model for similar programs across the country and creates millions of dollars in funding for Legal Aid each year. Learn more.