The Massachusetts Bar Foundation recently awarded $3.35 million
in grants through its annual Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts
(IOLTA) Grants Program. This year's grants will fund 104 programs
conducted by nonprofit organizations throughout Massachusetts.
The money will help thousands of residents struggling with
foreclosure, domestic violence, child advocacy, housing,
immigration and consumer debt problems.
These grants support projects that either offer civil legal
services to people who cannot otherwise afford them or improve the
administration of justice in the commonwealth.
Grants providing direct legal services include support to
domestic violence programs, special education advocacy, consumer
debt counseling and homelessness prevention.
Grants to improve the administration of justice include efforts
such as court-linked mediation and lawyer-of-the-day programs.
Funds for these grants are provided by the Supreme Judicial
Court's IOLTA Program. The MBF is one of three charitable entities
in Massachusetts that distributes IOLTA funds.
As a result of the economic downtown, available funds for IOLTA
grants have declined by almost 70 percent over the last several
years. Foundation trustees voted for the third year in a row to
draw money from MBF reserve funds to help to fund the awards.
"The MBF trustees have been focused on minimizing the impact of
drastically shrinking resources on already strained grantee
organizations," said MBF President Joseph P.J. Vrabel. "We will
continue to work to do everything we possibly can to help our
grantee organizations keep these essential services available to
those most in need."
Additional information about the MBF and its IOLTA Grants
Program, as well as a complete listing of the 2011-12 IOLTA grant
recipients, is available at