The Endowment was founded in 2000 by two visionary attorneys to address the growing unmet needs of low-income families and the unpredictable nature of civil legal aid funding. Today, the Endowment for Equal Justice is the largest civil legal aid endowment in the nation, with a corpus in excess of $22 million. Over the last five years, the Endowment has disbursed nearly $5 million to the Legal Foundation of Washington’s grant making pool.
While our Constitution affords everyone the right to legal representation in criminal matters, there is no such guarantee for civil legal issues. For far too many low income people in Washington, justice is out of reach. The Endowment for Equal Justice protects people’s safety, dignity and rights by providing a sustainable source of funding for civil legal services they could never afford on their own.
We wisely invest private donations from attorneys, law firms, judges and other people who care about equity and justice in a long-term, revenue-producing fund. Then, annual proceeds are distributed through the trusted Legal Foundation of Washington to provide stable, ongoing funding for civil legal aid throughout the state. Because the Endowment’s principal remains intact, revenue from interest will provide an everlasting source of funds that changes people’s lives — a safety net for civil legal aid today and for generations to come.
The Endowment for Equal Justice raises, invests and contributes funds to resolve the civil legal aid challenges facing Washington families and to change systems and policies that perpetuate poverty and racial, social, and economic injustice.
We envision a day when every individual and family living in poverty and facing a civil legal crisis has access to the help they need thanks to the increasingly larger role the Endowment plays in funding civil legal aid.
Our Commitment to Antiracism
Black Lives Matter. The Endowment for Equal Justice and the Legal Foundation of Washington (LFW) believe that creating fair access to civil justice requires undoing systemic racial oppression, and we strongly support the national movement to end violence against Black people and dismantle racist systems. As the Justices of the Washington Supreme Court wrote, “the legal community must recognize that we all bear responsibility for this ongoing injustice, and that we are capable of taking steps to address it, if only we have the courage and the will.”
We are committed to becoming an anti-racist organization and strive to reflect racial justice and inclusion in all of our grantmaking because of the historical impact of racism and the disparate outcomes it creates for communities of color, particularly in the justice system. 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.
LFW and the Endowment for Equal Justice are proud partners in the Alliance for Equal Justice, a network of Washington State organizations that collaborate to coordinate strategy and the delivery of civil legal aid to people and communities experiencing poverty and injustice. We are committed to dismantling the barriers that deny justice and perpetuate racial inequities.
The Endowment for Equal Justice is the endowment of the Legal Foundation of Washington, a 501(c)(3) organization located in Seattle, WA, and registered with Washington State Charities Program as required by law. Additional information is available by calling 800-332-4483 or visiting www.sos.wa.gov/charities.