MBF awards $3.35 million in grants to programs

Issue September 2011

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation recently awarded $3.35 million in grants through its annual Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Grants Program. This year's grants will fund 104 programs conducted by nonprofit organizations throughout Massachusetts.

The money will help thousands of residents struggling with foreclosure, domestic violence, child advocacy, housing, immigration and consumer debt problems.

These grants support projects that either offer civil legal services to people who cannot otherwise afford them or improve the administration of justice in the commonwealth.

Grants providing direct legal services include support to domestic violence programs, special education advocacy, consumer debt counseling and homelessness prevention.

Grants to improve the administration of justice include efforts such as court-linked mediation and lawyer-of-the-day programs.

Funds for these grants are provided by the Supreme Judicial Court's IOLTA Program. The MBF is one of three charitable entities in Massachusetts that distributes IOLTA funds.

As a result of the economic downtown, available funds for IOLTA grants have declined by almost 70 percent over the last several years. Foundation trustees voted for the third year in a row to draw money from MBF reserve funds to help to fund the awards.

"The MBF trustees have been focused on minimizing the impact of drastically shrinking resources on already strained grantee organizations," said MBF President Joseph P.J. Vrabel. "We will continue to work to do everything we possibly can to help our grantee organizations keep these essential services available to those most in need."

Additional information about the MBF and its IOLTA Grants Program, as well as a complete listing of the 2011-12 IOLTA grant recipients, is available at