MBF Grants In Action

Issue September 2012

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation recently awarded $2.5 million in grants through its annual Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts Grants Program. This year's grants will fund 99 programs conducted by 70 nonprofit organizations throughout Massachusetts.

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

Funds for these grants are provided by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's Interest on Lawyer's Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Program. The Massachusetts Bar Foundation 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 more than 75 percent over the last several years. Trustees of the foundation voted, as they have for the past four years, to draw money from MBF reserve funds to help to fund the awards.

"The organizations we fund provide critical assistance to the most vulnerable citizens of the commonwealth," said MBF President Jerry Cohen. "In spite of drastically reduced resources to serve these clients, MBF grantees work tirelessly to make legal assistance accessible to those in need. We are proud to support them."

Additional information about the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and its IOLTA Grants Program, as well as a complete listing of the 2012/2013 IOLTA grant recipients is available on the MBF website here.