The Oklahoma Bar Foundation (OBF) Board of Trustees approved $731,242 in Grants for 29 nonprofit programs that will provide legal services and education to over 46,500 Oklahomans. The OBF Grants & Awards Committee, who is tasked with reviewing grant applications and interviewing grant applicants, presented funding recommendations to the OBF Board of Trustees for programs that provide services in the following categories: legal services and advocacy for abused and neglected children, civil legal aid for low-income Oklahomans, immigrant legal services, domestic violence prevention services, teen legal education, juvenile offender programs, diversion programs and other law-related programs.
The following nonprofits will receive program funding from the OBF for fiscal year 2021:
|Grantee||Program/Services||Area of Service|
|CASA of Canadian County||Advocacy for Abused Children||Canadian County|
|CASA of Western Oklahoma||Advocacy for Abused Children||Beckham, Custer & Washita Counties|
|CASA of NE Oklahoma||Advocacy for Abused Children||Ottawa, Rogers and Washington Counties|
|CASA of Southern Oklahoma||Advocacy for Abused Children||Carter, Love, Murray Counties|
|Center for Children & Families||Court Ordered Divorce & Co-Parenting Program||Cleveland and Oklahoma Counties|
|Oklahoma Guardian Ad Litem Institute||GAL Services for Low-Income Families||Statewide|
|Oklahoma Lawyers for Children||Legal Services for Abused Children||Oklahoma County|
|The Care Center||Victim Legal Services & Forensic Interviews||Statewide|
|Tulsa Lawyers for Children||Legal Services for Abused Children||Tulsa County|
|Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma||Civil Legal Services for Low-Income Oklahomans||Statewide|
|Oklahoma City University Law||Indian Wills Clinic||Statewide|
|Trinity Legal Clinic of Oklahoma||Civil Legal Services for Low-Income Oklahomans||Oklahoma City Area|
|Domestic Violence Intervention Services||DVIS Legal Program||Tulsa & Creek Counties|
|Wings of Hope, Family Services Center||Survivors Legal Support||Logan, Noble & Payne Counties|
|Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma||Immigration Legal Services||Eastern Oklahoma Counties|
|Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of OKC||Immigration Legal Services||Canadian, Cleveland and Oklahoma Counties|
|The Spero Project||The Common – Refugee Legal Services||Oklahoma City Metro|
|University of Tulsa Law School||Immigrant Rights Project||Statewide|
|YWCA Tulsa||Immigration Legal Services||Tulsa Area|
|Citizens for Juvenile Justice||Court Ordered Literacy Program||Oklahoma County|
|Citizens for Juvenile Justice||Connect to Redirect||Oklahoma County|
|Teen Court||First-Time Juvenile Offender Court||Comanche County|
|Youth Services of Tulsa||First-Time Juvenile Offender Court||Tulsa & Ottawa Counties|
|Western Plains Youth & Family Services||Juvenile Detention Services||Ellis, Harper and Woodward Counties|
|OBA-YLD Mock Trial||High School Mock Trial Program||Statewide|
|YMCA of Greater OKC||Youth & Government Program||Statewide|
|Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation||Legal Assistance Resource Center||Statewide|
|1st Step Male Diversion Program||Diversion and Mentorship Program||Tulsa County|
|Mental Health Association of Oklahoma||Diversion Program on Special Services Docket||Tulsa County|
2020 has been particularly tough for the nonprofit sector as many organizations experienced financial hardship, operational challenges, and a decrease in volunteers while at the same time seeing a major increase in clients needing legal assistance.
“This year, we heard from many of our grantees about how hard it has been to handle a dramatic increase in the need for services in an environment that suppresses fundraising events and personal outreach,” says OBF Grants & Awards Chair Valerie Couch. “They have been heroic in their efforts to persevere, and we need to help them all we can. I hope all lawyers in Oklahoma will increase their support of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation so that we can provide timely help and funding for the people working in the trenches during this pandemic.”
Each year, the OBF funds Grantee programs providing legal services and aid to low-income populations. Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) is the primary source of funding for OBF Grantees, but unfortunately it is not enough to meet the overwhelming need. This year, the OBF received grant requests for over $1.1 Million from 30 Oklahoma nonprofits. This means that despite awarding over $730,000 in OBF Grantees, close to $400,000 in requests that WILL NOT be met due to lack of funding, and many Oklahomans who desperately need help will not receive it.
The OBF’s mission and priority is to provide as much funding to our Grantees as possible, so they can focus on providing high quality services for their clients. To help close some of the funding gap, we have created some special campaigns and events.
SO — a big THANK YOU to the OBF donors and the OBA Sections who donated to the “OBF Grantee Covid Legal Relief Campaign” and the “Giving Tuesday Now” Campaign. Together these campaigns raised an additional $30,000 for OBF Grantees. We also want to give a shout out to our Prime Partner Banks who pay higher interest rates on their IOLTA accounts, which translates into more funds for OBF Grantees.
There is still time to support the OBF and advance justice – visit www.okbarfoundation.org/donate to make a donation!