Current Grant Recipients
In 2020, Vermont Bar Foundation approved 13 grants to local and statewide projects that provide civil legal services to disadvantaged Vermonters or education to the general public about the courts and legal matters.
The Hon. John A. Dooley Competitive Grants
Addison County Bar Association — $5,000Addison County Prenatal Legal Support Project
This pilot program will provide legal advice to pregnant women and their partners who are facing child welfare investigations and potential interventions from the Vermont Department for Children and Families on account of their pregnancies. Providing legal advice to families in this limited, critical 30-day time frame can help parents form a safety plan, access services and treatment to help keep children in the home. Funding will support program expenses.
The AALV is one of the only Vermont organizations — and the only organization in greater Burlington — addressing the immigration legal needs of indigent asylum seekers, torture survivors, resettled refugees, and other immigrants. Funding will support pro bono immigration legal services.
NewStory Center — $5,000Legal Assistance Project
NewStory Center is a non-profit human service agency dedicated to assisting survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Their focus includes outreach, education, advocacy, and crisis services to the communities of Rutland County with the goal of protecting those who are victims of abuse, while working to prevent and decrease instances of further abuse. Funding will support representation by local attorneys, on a reduced-fee basis, as needed for issues such as divorce and child custody.
The Orleans County Restorative Justice Center empowers community members to restore relationships that have been harmed by conflict, addresses the underlying roots of conflict and crime, and improves the quality of life in our community. They currently hold a monthly pro bono clinic for residents of Orleans County and as needed a specialty clinic such as rental or expungement. Funding will assist with support staff for the clinics.
Steps to End Domestic Violence — $5,419Weekly Legal Clinic
The mission of Steps is to assist in the transition to a safe, independent life for all those who have been affected physically, sexually, emotionally, or economically by domestic abuse and to promote a culture that fosters justice and safety. Grant funding will support the weekly legal clinic available to low-income survivors of dating and domestic violence residing in Chittenden County.
The Community Restorative Justice Center, Inc. provides opportunities for people to change the way they treat each other in order to maintain communities as safe and enjoyable places to live, work and play. The Legal Program includes a monthly Legal Clinic that provides one-time legal assistance and advice at no cost and a Rent Escrow Clinic, a cooperative effort with Vermont Legal Aid. Grant funding will help support the Legal Program Coordinator.
Vermont Bar Association — Carry-OverLow Bono County Projects
The Vermont Bar Association’s Low Bono projects provide low-income Vermonters with legal representation in the areas of landlord/tenant, collections, and child-support contempt defense. The VBA Low Bono Project covers all 14 counties. Carry –over funds will cover legal representation on a reduced-fee basis.
Women’s Freedom Center — $7,000Legal Representation
The Women’s Freedom Center is committed to offering support and advocacy to all survivors of violence, as well as prevention and educational activities to help create a community where violence is not tolerated. Funding will assist low income victims in Windham County and Southern Windsor County with access to legal representation on a reduced-fee basis.
WomenSafe — $5,000Legal Assistance Program
WomenSafe works with all people to eliminate physical, sexual, and emotional violence through direct service, education, and social change. Funding will cover legal representation, on a reduced-fee basis, to people who have experienced domestic and sexual violence through custody and divorce proceedings in Addison County and Rochester.
Have Justice–Will Travel, Inc. — $20,000Legal Empowerment Assistance Program
LEAP is a natural progression of the HJWT model and the organization’s effort to end the generational cycle of abuse in rural families. The program allows Have Justice to offer long term, on-going direct legal services to pro se litigants looking for advice and/or legal education throughout their case. Funding will support the LEAP Coordinator.
Vermont Bar Association — $22,000Legal Access Coordinator
The Legal Access Coordinator provides a centralized system to encourage, coordinate, and track the delivery of pro bono services in Vermont. The Coordinator continues to identify and unify pro bono efforts throughout the State, publicize and promote the work of pro bono attorneys, recruit and provide training for pro bono attorneys in areas of need, and coordinate with existing access to justice programs and projects. Funding will help support the Coordinator’s salary and benefits.
The Legal Clinic provides a broad range of effective, free legal services to vulnerable, disadvantaged residents of Central and Southeastern Vermont. Its primary goals are to provide high-quality legal services to low-income people and to help law students develop essential lawyering skills. Funding will cover a portion of the operating expenses of the Children First! and the Vermont Immigrant Assistance Projects.
Vermont Legal Aid, Inc. — $705,000Staff Support
VLA has been providing civil legal services to low-income Vermonters since 1967. They provide information, advice and representation in a wide range of civil legal areas including health care, housing, education, family law, public benefits, and consumer law. VLA’s Projects supported by this grant – Poverty Law Project, Senior Citizens Law Project and Disability Law Project.