Foundation awards $9.6 million in legal aid grants

first_img January 15, 2004 Managing Editor Regular News Foundation awards $9.6 million in legal aid grants Mark D. Killian Managing Editor The Florida Bar Foundation awarded more than $9.6 million in IOTA grants in December to Florida legal aid providers to help meet the legal needs of the poor.Tallahassee’s William H. Davis, chair of the Foundation’s Legal Assistance for the Poor Grant Committee, said this year’s general support grants were awarded based on a new regional system, which has been in the works for a number of years.“Through the leadership of The Florida Bar Foundation, a statewide plan for the delivery of legal services has been developed, and as part of that process, there was a creation of regions designed to provide core services throughout each region to coordinate intake so that client and client needs could be better served,” Davis said.The move to regionalization was spurred on by a reorganization of Legal Services Corporation grantees, which reduced the number of LSC funded service providers in Florida from 12 to seven.“That process led to the consolidation of some LSC supported programs and the elimination of other LSC programs,” Davis said.Davis said through the leadership of Paul Doyle, director of the Foundation’s legal assistance grants program, and Kent Spuhler, executive director of Florida Legal Services, all of the state’s legal service providers were able to work out the reconfiguration plan and “come up with what we think is really going to be a big improvement in the delivery of legal services throughout the state.”Those changes included shifting responsibilities among the various programs both geographically and substantively.“Programs that receive any LSC money, for example, are restricted from doing certain kinds of work, and so some programs became LSC programs, and some that otherwise would have been eliminated due to the LSC cutting off their funding became non-LSC programs and got increased funding from IOTA,” Davis said. “Now we have seven regions with all the programs in each region working together to allocate the responsibilities throughout the region for the various kinds of legal services work that needs to be done.”Davis said there is “no question” that Florida is in the forefront of the provision of legal services to the poor in terms of making do with very limited resources in a very productive way.“The need can be overwhelming, and there remains an awful lot that needs to be done,” Davis said. “Yet everyday there are lawyers —both pro bono and legal service staff lawyers—that are changing people’s lives, breaking the cycle of poverty, and having permanent positive impacts on people’s lives.”The applications for general support grants for local programs are based upon a per capita formula, depending upon the number of poor people in a county. Services are provided through staff and pro bono attorneys, and the cases handled are determined through local community priorities set by local boards of directors. Predominantly, the cases handled are family, housing, income maintenance, and consumer matters.The Foundation’s board of directors approved the general support grants on the recommendation of its Legal Assistance to the Poor Grant Committee.Grants awarded in Region I include: Legal Aid Foundation of the Tallahassee Bar Association, $30,817; Legal Services of North Florida, $406,015; and Northwest Florida Legal Services, $209,813.Grants awarded in Region II include: Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, $690,665; and Three Rivers Legal Services, $50,000.Grants awarded in Region III include: Brevard County Legal Aid, $69,383; Central Florida Legal Services, $815,842; Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, $318,722; and Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society, $52,076.Grants awarded in Region IV include Bay Area Legal Services, $164,144; Community Law Program, $5,000; Gulfcoast Legal Services, $889,025; and Legal Aid of Manasota, $5,000.Grants awarded in Region V include: Florida Rural Legal Services,$508,854; Heart of Florida Legal Aid Society, $92,198; Lee County Legal Aid Society, $46,177; and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, $290,053.The grants in Region VI went to Legal Aid Service of Broward County, $537,938.Grants in Region VII include: American Friends Service Committee, $106,422; Cuban American Bar Association, $27,297; Dade County Bar Association, $234,809; Dade County Bar Ineligible Aliens, $61,817; Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, $525,299; Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center Homeless Project, $59,779; Guardianship Program of Dade County, $54,594; and Legal Services of Greater Miami, $533,803.The Foundation made law school clinical project grants to Florida State University, Nova Southeastern University, the University of Florida, and the University of Miami in the amount of $2,500 each.The Foundation also made statewide grants to Florida Institutionalized Legal Services, $375,126; Florida Justice Institute, $223,231; Florida Legal Services general support, $1,501,947; FLS Migrant Farmworker Justice Project, $491,713; and Southern Legal Counsel, $192,324.center_img Foundation awards $9.6 million in legal aid grantslast_img

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