News Release

Texas Access to Justice Foundation 
June 30, 2015

Texas Access to Justice Foundation Awards More than $63 Million to Nonprofits Across theState

Funds will support 30 nonprofits that provide legal aid services

 

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) has announced its 2015 grants, totaling more than $63 million over the next two years, to be distributed to 30 nonprofit organizations throughout Texas that provide civil legal aid to disadvantaged Texans.

 

With the help of grants from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, public interest and pro bono lawyers provide legal representation to low-income Texans with civil legal issues, such as benefits for veterans, health care for the elderly, domestic violence and foreclosures. Each year, TAJF grantees help more than 100,000 disadvantaged Texas families.

 

The grants are substantially funded through the $17.56 million biennium appropriation by the 84th Texas Legislature for basic civil legal services. This funding is critical as historically low interest rates continue to decimate the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA) program, a primary funding source for legal aid. Additionally, Texas legal aid providers who receive federal funding continue to see losses in legal aid funding.

 

More than 5.6 million Texans qualify for legal aid, and because of a lack of resources, less than 20 percent of the civil legal needs of low-income Texans are being met. To be eligible for civil legal aid, an individual must earn no more than $14,713 a year. For a family of four, the annual household income cannot exceed $30,313.


“Access to a lawyer can be a lifesaver to disadvantaged families facing challenging times,” Justice Eva Guzman, Texas Supreme Court liaison for access to justice issues, said. “Legal aid plays a crucial role in ensuring that vulnerable Texans are able to access the court system.” 

TAJF has awarded more than $480 million since its inception in 1984. The organization collects and administers funds, including IOLTA, Basic Civil Legal Services (filing fees, fees assessed to out-of-state attorneys practicing in Texas, and other public funding), crime victims’ funds and private donations.

Texas Access to Justice Foundation Grantees—2015-2017

Headquarters - Program Name - Grant
Austin     American Gateways   $628,635
Austin     Disability Rights Texas $3,406,212
Austin     Equal Justice Center $568,745
Austin     Oficina Legal del Pueblo Unido, Inc. $2,253,692
Austin     Texas Advocacy Project $71,650
Austin     Texas Legal Services Center $6,106,553
Austin     Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas $615,849
Conroe    Montgomery County Women's Center $90,610
Dallas     Catholic Charities of Dallas $651,860
Dallas     Dallas Bar Association Community Service Fund (DVAP) $565,340
Dallas     Legal Hospice of Texas $412,729
El Paso    Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services $709,209
Fort Worth     Legal Aid of Northwest Texas $6,088,740
Fort Worth     Texas A&M Research Foundation $95,000
Harlingen     Pro Bar-ABA Fund for Justice and Education $628,006
Houston     Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse $769,097
Houston     Beacon Law (formerly Cathedral Justice Project) $419,479
Houston     Boat People SOS, Inc. $267,612
Houston     Catholic Charities, Cabrini Center for Immigration Legal Assistance  $695,525
Houston     Earl Carl Institute for Legal and Social Policy (Thurgood Marshall School of Law) $283,016
Houston     Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program $1,455,898
Houston     Lone Star Legal Aid $14,987,982
Houston     South Texas College of Law $246,378
Houston     University of Houston Law Foundation $282,602
Lubbock     Legal Aid Society of Lubbock $649,137
San Antonio     Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. $406,935
San Antonio     Refugee & Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services $399,859
San Antonio     St. Mary's School of Law, Center for Legal and Social Justice         $278,799
Sugar Land     Fort Bend Lawyers Care $183,635
Weslaco         Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. $19,135,928
TOTAL $63,353,712

-30-

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the largest state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in Texas. The organization is committed to the vision that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of their income. The Foundation administers a variety of funding sources, which are earmarked to assist nonprofit organizations in providing legal aid to approximately 100,000 Texas families each year. For more information, please visit: www.teajf.org.

 

Contact: Kimberly Schmitt
512-320-0099, ext. 104
kschmitt@teajf.org

 

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