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, two-thirds of awards went to BIPOC-led organizations and half were first-time grantees with LFW. The program also reflects LFW’s statewide reach: 41% percent of grantees work statewide; 33% focus on Central and Eastern WA; 19% percent serve the Puget Sound region, and 7% cover other areas in WA.

In 2022, LFW will award eight $40,000 grants, each with two-year terms. Civil legal aid providers or organizations in partnership with civil legal aid providers are eligible to apply. Proposals can be for new or existing projects, including operational expenses, and must be focused on civil justice work in Washington State. 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. If you have an open Race Equity Grant and have not submitted your final report, you will not be eligible to apply until the final report is submitted.

Grant amount: Eight $40,000 grants, each with two-year terms.

Deadline for applications: April 15, 2022. View the application here.

Apply for a Race Equity Grant

Questions or feedback? Contact LFW Grants Coordinator Arielle Handforth by email.

Watch a recording of our informational webinar below and view the slides here.

Fall 2021 Race Equity Grantees

Communities Rise

Expanding the Community Connectors Program, a relationship-based outreach program in South King, Spokane, Yakima, and Pierce counties that compensates trusted community leaders to share culturally fluent information about COVID-related legal resources.

Disability Rights Washington

Implementing strategies to shift DRW’s systemic civil justice advocacy to address inequities experienced by disabled BIPOC, especially at risk of criminalization, incarceration, or institutionalization.

Global Rights Advocacy

Expanding legal outreach and international human rights advocacy on behalf of asylum-seekers and other detainees at Northwest Processing Center.

Gonzaga University’s Removal Defense Project

Providing free representation for vulnerable immigrants in Eastern Washington who must travel to the Seattle immigration court for removal hearings and training the next generation of nonracist immigration lawyers.

Korean Women’s Association

Assisting low-income and immigrant survivors of domestic violence in Tacoma with legal advice and representation.

Pacific County Immigrant Support partnering with Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center

Providing legal education and representation for Pacific County immigrants to secure legal status as residents.

Tacomaprobono Community Lawyers

Providing free legal services to BIPOC and low-income clients seeking to relieve the burden of legal financial obligations (LFOs), with the goal of reducing barriers to housing and relicensing.

Tulalip Foundation

Providing client-centered direct legal representation to Tulalip tribal member foster youth that addresses, supports, and protects the youth’s individual needs and goals.

Unemployment Law Project

Creating a Carl Maxey Race Equity Fellowship in Spokane to coordinate legal aid with BIPOC community organizations including a BIPOC Community Civil Legal Aid Summit.

See all grantees from previous cycles here.

Advisory Panel

Our current panel includes:

Carmen Pacheco-Jones (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.