2019 Community Economic Development grant application process begins Aug. 31

The 2019 Community Economic Development grant application process will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018.

The deadline for grant applications is 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. Late applications will not be accepted. Paper or emailed applications will not be accepted.

Applications must be submitted via Legal Server. New applicants should contact the Foundation to obtain a Legal Server login and password.

CED grant application funding will be officially allocated on Sept. 14, 2018. It is likely that the funding available will be around $6 million. The minimum grant award will be $25,000.

I. History and Mission

The mission of the Florida Bar Foundation (FBF/Foundation) is to provide greater access to justice. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through initiatives that:

  • Expand and improve representation and advocacy on behalf of low-income persons in civil legal matters;
  • Improve the fair and effective administration of justice; and
  • Promote public service among lawyers by making it an integral component of the law school experience.

The Florida Bar Foundation was formed in 1956 by The Florida Bar Board of Governors. The Foundation has awarded nearly $500 million dollars in grant funding over 35 years and has invested in the civil legal aid delivery system to benefit low-income Floridians.

The Foundation is governed by a 36-member board of directors, which meets quarterly. The board conducts its work through standing and ad hoc committees and is assisted by a staff of 13 Foundation employees located in Maitland, Florida. The names of board members, staff, and other information may be found on the Foundation’s website.

The Foundation is committed to creating lasting change with measurable improvements for low-income Floridians. The Foundation is a convener, collaborator, and catalyst for broad based systemic change and innovative solutions to reduce the Justice Gap in Florida.

II. Scope of Services

In furtherance of its mission, and in recognition that no single provider or organization can satisfy the documented unmet need for civil legal services, the Foundation supports a variety of programs to ensure the delivery of both high quality and a full range of civil legal services to low-income Floridians through a comprehensive statewide system.

Such providers and organizations include, but are not limited to: staff attorney programs, pro bono programs, specialized legal services programs, multi-service programs, technology programs, and statewide programs.

III. Organizations Eligible for Grants

The Foundation shall make grants to organizations, not individuals. Qualified grant applicants must:

  • Be non-profit entities, tax-exempt and qualified to receive charitable donations within the meaning of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • Operate within the state of Florida;
  • Have an audit mechanism that provides accountability of Foundation funds;
  • Agree to satisfy all of the Foundation’s reporting requirements, including the submission of audited financial statements;
  • Have a primary purpose of providing legal services to low-income Floridians; or a primary purpose that advances the administration of justice in Florida;
  • Be current in all filings required to be made by it with any governmental authority;
  • Maintain open records;
  • Be an equal employment opportunity employer; and
  • Be able to demonstrate that it can utilize any funds granted to it in a manner consistent with rules and policies adopted by the Board of Directors of the Foundation.

IV. Criteria for Community Based Civil Legal Services Grants

Provide civil legal services in one or more substantive legal area and through a full range of legal strategies (direct representation, administrative and policy advocacy, community lawyering, legislative). Funds shall be used to expand and improve services and fill gaps in service. Funds can be used for operational, administrative, staffing, and supply expenses required to support the proposed projects and the outcomes to be achieved. Funds may not be used for capital expenditures. Funds may not be used to duplicate a service already funded by another entity or in place of other funds available for the same purpose.

  • Community Economic Development Initiative
    • The Community Economic Development Initiative is a competitive grant program focused on improving economic development in Florida communities. Proposals should describe how grant funds will be used to support and promote economic development by providing services that revitalize or stabilize low- and moderate-income communities and that address neighborhood blight resulting from problems facing communities including unemployment, poverty, job loss, environmental degradation, and loss of community control that need to be addressed in a holistic and participatory way.
    • Projects funded shall support equitable, inclusive, and sustainable efforts that create pathways to build, retain, and stabilize economic self-sufficiency.
    • Strategies may cross a broad range of options from counseling advocacy groups, transactional law, representation, legislative advocacy or policy and impact work, but should reflect an understanding of the current needs and challenges within the communities served, and knowledge of successful models for meeting those needs. The organization should have established partnerships that are necessary to achieve the stated goals.
    • The Foundation looks to applicants to develop creative projects that will have far-ranging and lasting impact on communities and that are sustainable beyond the Foundation’s initial investment into the project.
    • Applicants have flexibility in defining community redevelopment assistance.
    • However, the Foundation will give preference to applications that address the economic needs of the client community and must address at least 1 of the following purposes:
      • Preserve, rehabilitate, or develop affordable housing for low- and moderate-income clients;
      • Create sustainable business development or employment opportunities; or
      • Create practical and replicable solutions to attaining social, community, or economic justice.

VI. Data Collection and Reporting

All grant recipients will be required to participate in a national data gathering effort.

VII. Timeline

Grant applications made available:  August 31, 2018

Online grant applications due:  October 26, 2018

Grant funding recommendations approved:  December 7, 2018

Grant funding period:  January 1 – December 31, 2019

Funds will be distributed in late January 2019.

The Foundation will only accept one application from each organization applying. An organization may be a collaborator on more than one application but can only be the lead organization on one application.

VIII. The Board of Directors and Awarding of Grants

A major function of the Foundation in its grant making capacity is to award grants to exemplary non-profit providers of legal services in a competitive process that will result in the most effective and efficient delivery of legal services by selected Florida non-profit organizations.

In accordance the Foundation’s Grantmaking Policy, Foundation staff will receive and review all applications. Staff may include outside peer reviewers in the application review process. Staff establishes the eligibility of each applicant; determines compliance with reporting requirements; ascertains accuracy and completeness of the applicant’s information; reviews budget and financial information; reviews grantee self-assessment and other reports; and evaluates the application based on criteria and factors described below.

A list of applicants is provided to the board along with the Foundation’s Conflict of Interest Policy. Committee and Board members disclose affiliations with organizations and recuse themselves from voting on grants involving organizations with whom they have an affiliation. Foundation staff submits funding recommendations and other information to the Grants Committee for review and discussion. The committee relies on staff to share any pertinent knowledge of the applicants that might affect its funding decisions. The committee makes funding recommendations to the Board of Directors, which makes final decisions on grant awards.

The board reserves the right to award an amount different (either lower or higher) from that requested by an applicant and to impose any special conditions on the award that the board, in their discretion, determines will improve services or performance by the grantee over the period of the grant.

IX. Specific Grant Criteria

The Foundation, recognizing the size and vast geographic diversity of the state and the unique needs of its various areas, will consider the following criteria in making grants:

  • Collaborative efforts
  • Outcomes to be achieved
  • Applicant’s evaluation methods to determine success
  • Unmet needs
  • The number of other organizations in the service area providing similar services
  • The types of legal services provided by the organization
  • Track record with the organization
  • The number of clients served by the applicant organization
  • Availability of other funding for the proposed projects
  • Requests for one-time needs, including innovation and/or transformation grants
  • Comparison of other similar project’s funding
  • Funds available in the service area
  • Potential for leveraging other resources
  • Probability of availability of other future funding sources
  • Pro Bono innovation and transformation projects
  • Experiential learning for law students who provide direct client services
  • Systemic/Impact work: using innovative legal, policy, and other advocacy efforts to address poverty and advance justice that affects more than one individual resulting in positive benefits for whole communities and/or vulnerable groups
  • Special populations, including but not limited to:
    • Immigrants
    • Institutionalized
    • Rural
    • LGBTQ
    • Children
    • Disabled and Mental Health
    • Veterans
    • Seniors/Elderly
    • Other marginalized populations.