Race Equity Grants

LFW believes that creating fair access to civil justice requires undoing systemic racial oppression.

Our Race Equity Grants provide multiyear funding to advance racial justice in civil legal aid and build power in communities most impacted by structural racism and oppression. We use a participatory grantmaking model designed to center the voices of communities most impacted by grantmaking decisions. An advisory panel of community leaders who have lived experience with the legal aid system, poverty, and racism review grant applications and prioritize the projects that will be most impactful.

The goals of the Race Equity Grant Fund are to:

  • invest in communities most impacted by structural racism and oppression;
  • support community- and client-centered approaches to civil legal aid;
  • increase civil justice for communities of color;
  • build and support anti-racist organizations and leadership; and
  • center those most impacted in the decision making process.

Since the Race Equity Grant program’s inception, 67% of awards went to BIPOC-led organizations and almost half were first-time grantees with LFW. The program also reflects LFW’s statewide reach: 47% percent of grantees work statewide; 29% focus on Central and Eastern WA; 14% percent serve the Puget Sound region, and 10% cover other areas in WA.

Eligible civil justice projects include direct civil legal aid services, systemic advocacy, policy reform, and tribal issues. You can read about recently funded projects below and view all previous Race Equity Grantees here.

Who can apply: Civil legal aid providers or organizations in partnership with civil legal aid providers are eligible to apply. Grant proposals can be for new or existing projects, including operational expenses, and must be focused on civil legal aid work in Washington state. Eligible civil justice projects include direct civil legal aid services, systemic advocacy, policy reform, and tribal issues. If you have an open Race Equity Grant and have not submitted your final report, you will not be eligible to apply until the funds have been spent and the final report is submitted.

Grant details: Ten $40,000 grants were awarded in 2023. Information about 2024 grants will be available at the end of 2023. 

Deadline for applications: April 15, 2024.

Questions or feedback? Contact LFW Grants Coordinator Arielle Handforth by email or find a time to meet by clicking here.

In 2023, LFW awarded ten $40,000 grants, each with two-year terms. Read more about those projects below. 

2023 Race Equity Grant Recipients

Carl Maxey Center 
Expanding the services of Spokane’s first Racial Justice Help Center & Legal Clinic to proactively, directly, and courageously address the acts of racial discrimination and racial injustice regularly perpetrated against members of the community. 

Entre Hermanos & QLaw Foundation of Washington  
Strengthening legal aid collaborations to provide culturally and linguistically sensitive wraparound services for Latinx and LGBTQ2S+ clients who face complex marginalization due to their immigration and documentation status, sexuality, poverty, or gender. 

Freedom Project 
Investigating and producing reports for litigation and policy advocacy to stop the expropriation of property from system-impacted individuals without the means or knowledge to access justice. 

Lavender Rights Project 
Increasing access to the civil legal protections most frequently sought by Black and Indigenous clients: record vacation, expungements, restoration of rights, name changes, and general legal aid. 

Living with Conviction, with fiscal sponsor CENTER 
Equipping and empowering incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students of color to exercise their rights to request reductions of their court debt through a partnership with reentry and education navigators affiliated with the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC). 

MiA – Mujeres in Action 
Building capacity to offer culturally responsive legal advocacy for immigrant Latinx survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault in the Spokane region.  

Pacific County Immigrant Support 
Assisting immigrants in Pacific County through education and representation to gain legal status, achieve DACA registration or renewal, secure citizenship, and defend immigrants facing ICE arrest/detention/deportation efforts. 

Tulalip Foundation 
Providing client-centered direct legal representation and advocacy for the educational needs of Tulalip Tribal youth ages 0-21 in the foster care system. 

Unidos Nueva Alianza Foundation
Supporting rural community members in Central Washington with DACA renewals, asylum applications, and other immigration-related legal aid. 

Wenatchee for Immigrant Justice
Assisting immigrants with immigration fees and hospital charity care applications to alleviate medical debt to empower them to flourish in their communities. 

See all grantees from previous cycles here.

Advisory Panel

Our current panel includes:

Carmen Pacheco-Jones, former Advisory Panel Chair, (pictured below with her daughter and granddaughter) answered a few questions about the panel:

Photo by Deborah Espinosa for Living with Conviction

What is the value of a grant advisory panel?

When you bring multiple voices together, with multiple experiences and different dynamics and stories, you really get the individuals that are stepping up to serve their communities and who are the first responder-types who know what their communities need. So having their voices at the table is so important. They know how to build a program that is going to be meaningful and impactful, and allowing them to have the decision-making capacity gives great value to the programs.

What do you hope to provide to the grantees?

As civil legal aid providers, they are really in the trenches. And through this grant expansion, we’re really interested in communities that have often been excluded to accessing legal aid and looking at what their needs are, and the complexities in communities of color that will help us serve a broader population.

What most excites you about this year’s grants?

We looked at all these different organizations that are doing such impactful work, and thought about how we could share information, learn from one another, partner with one another, through the movement toward equity. I’m most excited about seeing the work that’s going to be done and see the organizations that received these grants really dig in and look at barriers that have inhibited access for communities of color.