Grantmaking and Grantee Assessment
Supported primarily by IOTA funds, the Foundation’s Community Based Civil Legal Services (formerly Legal Assistance for the Poor) grants are awarded to a network of about 35 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. Community Based Civil Legal Services 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 CBCLS 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 Community Based Civil Legal Services 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.