The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced that Legal Services Vermont will receive a $375,970 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.
Legal Services Vermont will use the grant to build a coordinated, centralized and sustainable infrastructure for statewide pro bono efforts in Vermont. It will collaborate with key stakeholders to develop and implement a robust statewide pro bono system using best practices for recruitment, flexible volunteer venues and effective data tracking to expand access to justice for low-income families in the state.
“Pro bono assistance enables Legal Services Vermont to leverage its limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “This grant will promote this leverage and help Legal Services Vermont to assist many more people in need.”
Members of the Vermont congressional delegation congratulated Legal Services of Vermont on the grant.
“Legal Services Vermont is most deserving of this award, and it could not have come at a more critical time,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT). “The COVID pandemic has upended the lives of thousands of Vermonters, and those who suddenly find themselves in need of pro bono legal help should be able to get it. With this funding, LSV will work to create a more comprehensive system to meet the urgent needs of low-income Vermonters. We know that investing in these programs saves money in the long run. As Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to support the essential work of the Legal Services Corporation and the state programs it supports.”
“Proper legal representation is a part of the foundation of a just and equal society,” said Rep. Peter Welch (VT-At Large). “Quality legal representation has become harder to provide during the coronavirus pandemic, just as many Vermonters face higher medical bills, trouble with public assistance or trouble paying their mortgage. In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to make sure that Vermonters receive quality legal representation, regardless of where they live or how much money they have. I applaud the work of LSC and Legal Services Vermont to offer Vermonters the representation that they are entitled to, free of charge.”
Legal Services Vermont is one of 19 recipients of Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4,347,185. Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly expand their pro bono efforts and eight current Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
LSC awarded these grants from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million.
Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.