Civil legal aid is a basic human right, available and effective for all low-income people.
Equal civil justice for low-income people.
Who We Are
The Legal Foundation of Washington is a non-profit organization created in 1984 at the direction of the Washington Supreme Court to distribute IOLTA funds to legal aid organizations across the state. LFW has over thirty years of experience raising, managing, and distributing funds to achieve equal civil justice for low-income people. We seek to ensure access to civil legal aid for all people in Washington, and to improve the civil justice system to be more equitable and just. Our work contributes to breaking cycles of poverty and ensuring equal opportunity.
We serve thousands of low-income people each year by investing in civil legal aid organizations across Washington. We bring expertise about our state civil legal aid system to ensure thoughtful grantmaking. We receive support from public and private partners who are committed to equal justice and system reform. We responsibly steward and strategically distribute these funds throughout the state.
Since 1984, LFW has distributed more than $200 million to Washington’s legal aid community.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion builds on the understanding and recognition that creating fair access to civil justice means undoing systemic oppression.
In our work, we center racial equity because of the historical impact of racism in our country and the disparate outcomes it has created and continues to create for communities of color. We also recognize that other forms of oppression – such as sexism, classism, and ableism – threaten our nation’s promise of justice for all, and we are committed to understanding and addressing how all oppression affects the ability of low-income Washingtonians to access justice.
Below is how we define and apply diversity, equity, and inclusion to our work. These are working definitions that we will continue to refine and adjust as we progress and improve.
Diversity means many identities are represented within our organization including, but not limited to, people of different races, ethnicities, gender identities, abilities, socioeconomic and geographic status, sexual orientation, citizenship, religions, and national origins, among others. We strive to ensure our staff and board reflect the growing diversity in our community, and our grant making includes diverse voices and perspectives.
Equity is fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups within our society, especially people of color and low-income people. Improving equity involves meeting and recognizing the unique needs of systemically oppressed groups. It means increasing justice and fairness within the processes of our organization and within the larger system we are a part of, and particularly within the distribution of resources. We recognize that tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of disparities within our society, such as systemic racism and other forms of oppression.
Inclusion is creating an environment of involvement, respect, and connection where a richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives are welcome. It involves assessing our organizational culture and practices to ensure we include and value all identities and lived experiences regardless of how they may differ from mainstream white culture.