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Foundation approves new round of COVID grants for legal aid

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Connie Bookman

Connie Bookman

The Florida Bar Foundation has approved $2.5 million in grants to 22 legal aid organizations across the state to help low-income clients with COVID-19-related legal problems.

The Foundation Board of Directors recently approved the grants, which were allocated as a second round of COVID-related funding. The Foundation had last year granted more than $1.5 million to address altered client needs as the pandemic took hold in Florida and across the nation.

“The Foundation is proud that it was able to pivot quickly and adjust our funding allocations to help legal aid programs meet the increased challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Connie Bookman, president of The Florida Bar Foundation.

The new grants run from August 1 to June 30, 2022. The grants can be used to provide direct legal assistance to low-income clients with COVID-related legal problems, which include housing, domestic violence, family, and government benefits.

The grants were capped at $250,000 and priority was given to agencies that did not get funds in the first round of COVID grants and that have fewer resources. Recipients must provide an interim report on how the funds are being spent by January 20, 2022, and a final report by August 31, 2022.

The Foundation’s Grants Committee reviewed the first round of COVID grants, got input from legal aid agencies including the Florida Civil Legal Aid Association, and made its recommendations with an eye on covering as much of the state’s vulnerable population as possible. Fifteen of the recipients got COVID grants in the first round and seven were first-time COVID grant recipients.

Those receiving grants were:

• Americans for Immigrant Justice, $87,583.

• Brevard County Legal Aid, $87,583.

• Legal Aid Service of Broward County, $250,000.

• Catholic Legal Services, $72,000.

• Community Justice Project, $87,583.

• Cuban American Bar Association, $100,000.

• Dade Legal Aid, $175,000.

• Disability Independence Group, $87,583.

• Emerald Coast Legal Aid, $87,583.

• Florida Health Justice Project, $80,000.

• Florida Justice Institute, $87,583.

• Florida Legal Services, $250,000.

• Gulfcoast Legal Services, $87,583.

• Heart of Florida Legal Aid Society, $62,000.

• IDignity, $87,583.

• Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, $87,583.

• Lawyers for Children America, $87,583.

• Legal Aid Society of Orange County Bar Association, $175,000.

• Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society, $87,583.

• Southern Legal Counsel, $225,000.

• Tallahassee Bar Association Legal Aid Foundation, $60,000.

• Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc. $87,583.

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