The Florida Bar Foundation board of directors allocated $10,814,244 in 2018-19 funding at its first quarter board meeting Sept. 14. The Foundation will use $6.8 million from Bank of America’s (BOA) settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice; the remainder of funding comes from Florida’s Interest on Trust Accounts (IOTA) program.
“The Foundation is excited for the potential our funding has to impact the many vulnerable Floridians who are in need of civil legal aid,” said Florida Bar Foundation President Juliette E. Lippman, who is also a partner with Birnbaum, Lippman & Gregoire, PLLC.
Using funds from the BOA settlement, the Foundation has earmarked $6.39 million for Community Economic Development grants, a 0.29 percent increase from last year. The grants fund legal service projects that support and promote economic development by providing services that revitalize or stabilize low and moderate-income communities. The Foundation also allocated $410,000 for four Equal Justice Works Fellows, including two Racial Justice Fellows. The two-year fellowships place highly motivated and capable law graduates at Foundation grantee organizations to address the legal needs of particularly underserved low-income groups.
From IOTA funds, the Foundation specifically allocated the following:
- $730,000 for Administration of Justice grants, which improve the operation and management of the court system, reform the criminal, civil, and juvenile justice systems, support public education and understanding about the law, including law-related education, and promote public interest legal representation
- $1,000,000 for the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) for 200 lawyers employed at Florida legal aid organizations ($5,000 each)
- $1,273,146 for Children’s Legal Services, which funds programs that provide legal assistance to children in critical areas which affect their safety, wellbeing and future development
- $600,000 for Pro Bono Transformation and Innovation grants to develop and enhance pro bono programs to improve the reach, quality, and effectiveness of services
- $100,000 for a training initiative in which the Foundation, in conjunction with the Project Directors Association (PDA), will revamp training that focuses on retention of staff attorneys and increasing quality of work at legal aid organizations through regional and statewide trainings
- $100,000 for the Summer Fellows program, which funds 11-week summer fellowships for first- and second-year law students at Foundation grantee organizations to provide an in-depth educational experience in representing vulnerable populations, and
- $200,000 for Law School Clinic grants to provide law students an in-depth educational experience in representing the poor by working with clients and to encourage law students to pursue public interest careers and/or a commitment to pro bono representation of the poor.
Note: A complete list of current grant recipients and grants can be found at: https://thefloridabarfoundation.org/what-we-do/grant-programs/
About the Bank of American settlement
The Foundation received an initial donation of $1.395M in 2015. In 2016, the Foundation received an additional $23M in BOA funds. All BOA funds are to be used for foreclosure prevention legal assistance and community redevelopment legal assistance. Funds were allocated to each state based upon the federal poverty census data and formula used by the Legal Services Corporation.