August 5, 2014, Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC), which administers Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) and other funds for civil legal services to low-income persons throughout the state, is one of 10 national recipients of grants from the National Association of IOLTA Programs (NAIP). The grant to MLSC will be used to educate Maryland’s philanthropic community about the value of supporting civil legal aid in meeting basic human needs of vulnerable populations and integrating civil legal aid throughout multiple areas of the work of other foundations.
The Public Welfare Foundation’s article, Natural Allies: Philanthropy and Civil Legal Aid, notes that “investing to help low-income people solve their legal problems is smart, results-oriented philanthropy. …. Legal aid groups…have answers when families need housing, food, health care. …their work corrects bad policy and changes how society treats the most vulnerable. Yet, civil legal aid … has often been an overlooked partner in philanthropic efforts to improve … economic, social, and health conditions for low-income people and communities.”
MLSC will be working closely on this project with the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG), with a membership of 145 private and community foundations, donor-advised funds and corporate grantmakers. The goal of the NAIP-funded projects is to enhance IOLTA relationships throughout the country with private foundations and further foundation support of access to justice initiatives in meeting their own goals.The project activities over the next year will include workshops, a webinar and topical issue briefs for funders throughout the state.
MLSC was established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1982 to receive and distribute funds to nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal assistance to low-income persons. It is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. From its inception, MLSC has made grants totaling almost $200 million to help provide services in over 2 million cases for Maryland’s families in areas of family, housing, consumer, employment, health care and other civil legal matters.