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American Bar Endowment opens 2020 opportunity grants cycle

Regular News

Steve ZackThe American Bar Endowment (ABE), a not-for-profit that makes grants to support law-related public service, educational, and research programs has opened its 2020 opportunity grant cycle.

Former Florida Bar President Stephen Zack of Miami, who currently serves as the president of the ABE Board of Directors, said the grants are used to:

• Enhance access to justice through innovative legal services delivery;

• Promote the rule of law and improve the justice system; and

• Increase the public’s understanding of the law and the legal system and increase civic engagement.

“The ABE is privileged to be able to make grants to national and local projects that accomplish goals important to the citizens of this country and to our profession,” said Zack, who is also a former president of the ABA. “Lawyers should know about ABE grantmaking and share the information with organizations they might know or work with that are eligible to receive a grant.”

Since 1942, the ABE has made almost $300 million in grants to the research program of the American Bar Foundation, projects and programs funded through the ABA’s Fund for Justice and Education, and most recently to 37 initiatives and projects through its new Opportunity Grant Program. Since the Opportunity Grant Program’s inception three years ago, the ABE has awarded grants totaling just over $1 million to projects in 20 states and U.S. territories and national organizations.

“Now is the time of year that the ABE launches its new Opportunity Grant cycle. Each year we look forward to supporting law-related projects that address the needs of underserved communities,” Zack, said. “Our ability to provide funding for these critical efforts is only possible because of the generosity of thousands of ABA lawyer members, who annually donate any available dividends from their ABE-sponsored insurance plans to the ABE. The organizations that have received ABE Opportunity Grants have been able to explore and launch innovative legal service delivery tools and programs.”

On example is an ABE Opportunity Grant awarded to Protect Our Defenders, a national organization headquartered in the D.C. area that works locally to ensure that those who serve the country have a safe and respectful workplace. In 2016, 14,900 service members reported being sexually assaulted, and 129,000 faced severe and persistent sexual harassment or gender discrimination, according to the ABE. One in seven was attacked by a person in their chain of command, and 65% reported retaliation after reporting. With an ABE Opportunity Grant, Protect Our Defenders will enhance their current pro bono legal services program, including a curriculum to train civilian pro bono lawyers to represent sexual harassment and abuse survivors in the military justice system.

More information, including guidelines, the application process, and deadlines is available at

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