OBF Receives $4.6 Million from Bank of America Settlement

Oklahoma Bar Foundation

For the Oklahoma Bar Foundation Board of Trustees, it truly felt as though money had fallen from the sky as they learned the news the OBF would be receiving funds from the settlement of pending nationwide litigation. There has been much excitement within the organization about the funds and the opportunity to give more financial support to programs that can have a continuing positive impact on the lives of Oklahomans.

The “pennies from heaven,” as some might call it, came from the settlement of litigation between the U.S. Department of Justice and certain Bank of America entities involving the sale of mortgage backed securities and the resulting housing crisis back in 2008. The Oklahoma Bar Foundation is one of 56 recipients of a certain category of the settlement funds, which were distributed based on each state’s poverty level figures, and will be the organization overseeing the grant process to allocate funds in Oklahoma. The OBF Board of Trustees, along with a special task force, has been working diligently to prepare an RFP and complete the process for non-profits to apply for funding.

“Receiving these additional funds in such a substantial amount is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we want to make it count,” says OBF Executive Director Renee DeMoss. “We are very excited about the upcoming grant process and the potential to really make a lasting impact on our state.”

Organizations meeting the requirements may apply for funding now through March 7, 2017. General proposal requirements include proof of status as a not-for-profit or educational/charitable entity under the United States Internal Revenue Code. The funds can only be used to support mortgage foreclosure defense programs or community redevelopment projects.  The settlement of similar litigation resulted in a payment of $446,500 to the OBF in 2015, which was restricted to mortgage foreclosure defense. These funds were awarded in full to Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma for that purpose.  Proposals for the current grant funding that are centered on mortgage foreclosure prevention should describe how grant funds will be used to assist low-income individuals at risk of losing their homes, including legal services to address foreclosure prevention or foreclosure-related issues. Proposals that are centered on Community Redevelopment must address legal and social services directed to a specific need in a target community. Grant funds can be used to promote economic development by support of programs and provision of services that help revitalize or stabilize low and moderate-income communities.

Direct questions and inquiries should be made to OBF’s Executive Director Renee DeMoss at reneed@okbar.org or 405-416-7070

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