Blog Posts, Grants

Meet LFW’s Accelerator Grantees!

By Alexandra Deas

We are excited to introduce our 2023 Accelerator Grant recipients. Accelerator Grants are one-time grants designed to accelerate time-sensitive civil justice work and launch impactful projects. The grants support innovative and responsive initiatives that benefit from a one-time infusion of funds.

LFW funds civil justice organizations doing strong anti-racist work, centering historically excluded communities, and impacting long-lasting systemic change.

The grants prioritize civil justice work for groups that have been disproportionately under-resourced by legal aid, including: Native and Indigenous Peoples, clients without lawful immigration status, and the civil/criminal divide for re-entry and justice-system impacted individuals.

For the 2023 grant cycle, LFW’s Board awarded Accelerator Grants to seven outstanding projects. We centered race equity in our evaluation process, considering the proposal’s fit within the grant’s criteria and priorities, the organization’s leadership, community involvement and anti-racist practices, and the potential impact the proposal could have on BIPOC communities.

Carl Maxey Center is a Black-led organization located in Spokane committed to addressing racial inequities and focused on meeting the needs and addressing the challenges faced by Spokane’s Black/African American community.

Project: They will launch Spokane’s first Racial Justice Help Center & Legal Clinic in partnership with The Way to Justice, Maxey Law Office, the Law Office of DC Cronin, and Disability Rights Washington. The Center will offer free and confidential information, resources, referrals, and screenings for possible representation and litigation to directly address racial discrimination related to employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, health care, criminal justice, and policing.
Disability Rights Washington is a statewide legal aid nonprofit focused on disability justice. Due to their federal contracts, they have authority to conduct monitoring and advocacy in any setting in which people with disabilities access services—including prisons. Using their position and established relationships with the Department of Corrections, DRW’s Amplifying Voices of Incarcerated Individuals with Disabilities (AVID) Program is partnering with Look2Justice, a grassroots organization of advocates impacted by Washington State’s criminal legal system.

Project: They will build a peer-driven, self-sustaining, and replicable legislative advocacy training model by and for incarcerated people in Washington State prisons. The legislative advocacy materials and trainings will focus on criminal-legal reform, racial justice in sentencing, and how to advocate with people and legislative committees that are most involved in those issues.
El Centro de la Raza is an organization grounded in the Latino community of Washington. They will be serving the needs of undocumented Latino clients through bilingual legal consultations in person at their community site and virtually statewide.

Project: They have partnered with the Latino/a Bar Association of Washington (LBAW) to host bilingual English/Spanish legal clinics every year since 2007. The clinics are built to serve the needs of undocumented Latinx clients by providing bilingual legal
consultations and referrals on an assortment of legal issues, including immigration and civil legal issues. El Centro de la Raza is requesting funding to pilot a statewide expansion of the model, providing in-person legal clinics around Washington in addition to expanded virtual legal consultations via phone and online platforms, such as Zoom.
Entre Hermanos is a Latinx LGBTQ+ led nonprofit originally formed during the AIDS crisis to serve the needs of the Latinx LGBTQ+ community. They have been providing legal immigration representation for three years and identified a need for additional legal services specific to transgender clients.

Project: They will expand their legal services clinic for low-income Latinx trans immigrants (the majority of whom do not have legal immigration status) to focus on their unique legal needs including name changes and gender changes on identity documents.
Lavender Rights Project is a nonprofit led by Black trans women and femmes that offers intersectional legal and social services to LGBTQ+ communities in King and Pierce County.

Project: They will begin a one-year community-led legal campaign to stop the deaths of transgender people of color at Seattle King County Jail. Trans people of color face high rates of violence, discrimination, and oppression in the US, including Washington State. A series of recent deaths have made this a priority for Lavender Rights Project and the community-based organizing coalition focused on this issue. Together with the coalition, they will use legal tools to advocate for meaningful policy change to raise awareness and end the mistreatment of people of color in the King County Jail system.
Skagit Legal Aid provides free legal assistance to low-income people in Skagit County and expands access to the civil justice system by identifying and eliminating barriers caused by poverty and racism.

Project: Skagit Legal Aid, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (SITC), and Seattle University’s Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) are creating a new sustainable partnership focused on providing high quality civil legal services to SITC members. Through thoughtful and intentional discussions and planning sessions, Skagit Legal Aid and NALSA hosted four legal clinics at the Swinomish Social Services Building in the summer of 2022. Skagit Legal Aid will pilot an expansion of this project. They will continue building intentional partnerships with additional local tribal communities in the Skagit Valley by creating a dedicated law clerk position and focused externship with Seattle University for tribal law issues.