November 19, 2017
 
Mass. Bar Foundation Awards $2M to 56 Bay State Nonprofits

September 1, 2017 — The Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Massachusetts Bar Association, yesterday announced it recently awarded $2 million to 56 nonprofit organizations across the state to support 84 programs that address domestic violence, child advocacy, housing, immigration, consumer debt, and other issues.

Janet F. Aserkoff, president of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF), said, “MBF grantees are working hard every day to meet the increasing demand for civil legal assistance. We are proud to be able to support these critically needed programs that provide services to communities throughout the Commonwealth.”

MBF is one of three charitable entities in Massachusetts that distributes funds from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program to support projects that offer civil legal services to people who could not afford them or which aim to improve the administration of justice.

This year's IOLTA grants marked a drop from last year's $2.6 million in grants, reversing a recent trend of steady increase in grants since dropping dramatically during the years following the Great Recession. IOLTA grants from MBF peaked $6.1 million in 2008.

Nonprofits in 12 of the state's 14 counties received funds, including the following:
  • Center for New Americans, Northampton: $13,000 to provide immigration legal services to low-income immigrants at low or no cost.

  • Community Action of the Franklin, Hampshire, and North Quabbin Regions, Greenfield: $10,000 to offer low or no-cost divorce, post-divorce, custody, and relationship mediation services to low-income couples.

  • Community Dispute Settlement Center, Cambridge: $10,000 to provide mediation services to low and moderate income litigants in the Probate & Family and District Courts.

  • Community Legal Aid, Worcester: $28,000 for the Family Law Advocacy Project - Berkshire County to obtain protective orders, divorce, safe custody and visitation arrangements, and child support for low-income custodial parents.

  • Dove, Inc., Quincy: $18,000 to provide direct legal assistance through advice, document preparation, and/or limited representation to domestic violence survivors.

  • Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, Newburyport: $16,307 to provide legal advocacy, direct representation, and support to low-income victims of domestic violence in Essex County with their safety and family law issues.

  • Justice at Work, Boston: $15,000 to assist low-income workers in utilizing small claims court as an effective tool to rectify, punish, and deter wage theft.

  • South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Fall River and Hyannis: $45,000 to provide direct representation immigration legal services to eligible clients in the Greater Brockton area.

  • We Can, Harwich Port: $13,368 to provide free legal consultations to low-income women of Cape Cod regarding primarily family law matters, including divorce, child support, and custody issues.

  • The Women's Center, New Bedford and Fall River: $25,000 to assist individuals seeking protection from abusive relationships.

  • YWCA of Central Massachusetts, Worcester: $27,000 to provide certified advocates onsite in the district and probate courts to provide advocacy and support services to victims of domestic violence seeking intervention and protection through the courts.

The full list of grantees is available here.

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