Special Grant Awards

By Emily Van Yuga

We are delighted to announce over $5.8 million in expanded investments across Washington. Thanks to a settlement from Bank of America and residual funds from Judd v. AT&T, LFW was able to make a round of limited special grants in the areas of: foreclosure prevention, community redevelopment legal aid, and prison and re-entry work.

The application process was an exciting one; 39 letters of inquiry were submitted by 34 different organizations across Washington. Proposals ranged from using systemic advocacy to reduce mass incarceration to building the capacity of micro-enterprises in low-income immigrant and refugee communities.

In the early summer, LFW convened panels of outside experts to review letters of inquiry. Finalists were then asked to deliver full applications by mid-August. After careful consideration of the grant criteria and priorities, the LFW Board of Trustees awarded 17 grants across the three funding areas. Projects are slated to begin in January 2017.

Congratulations to the following grant recipients. We are thrilled to support this work of fighting for justice and equality for low-income families and individuals in Washington.

Community Redevelopment

  • Center for Justice: $300,000 to address the Spokane housing crisis using systemic advocacy and community outreach to reform ordinances, zoning laws and tax incentives
  • Colectiva Legal del Pueblo: $25,000 to advocate for pro-immigrant policy reform in partnership with individuals and families impacted by the Tacoma detention center
  • Columbia Legal Services: $1,250,000 to use systemic legal reform to address unfair barriers to employment and housing, discriminatory electoral systems, access to healthcare, and legal financial obligations
  • Public Defender Association: $800,000 to use legal advocacy to secure housing for the “hardest to house,” including people with criminal histories; to address barriers to housing
  • Unemployment Law Project: $100,000 to conduct outreach to the farmworker community to address employment security on behalf of low-wage workers
  • Wayfind: $400,000 to provide transactional legal support to nonprofit and micro-enterprise organizations in low-income communities in the South Puget Sound region

Foreclosure Prevention

  • Columbia Legal Services: $750,000 to overcome systemic barriers to home preservation, ensuring implementation of protective laws and addressing improper practices
  • Northwest Consumer Law Center: $250,000 for foreclosure defense representation, including bringing bankruptcy actions to prevent foreclosure
  • Northwest Justice Project: $750,000 to secure housing stability and protect homeowner equity through foreclosure defense litigation on behalf of low- and moderate-income homeowners; (this is a hybrid grant of Bank of America settlement funds and additional Home Justice funds)

Prison and Reentry