ATTENTION GRANT APPLICANTS
The Lawyers' Trust Account Commission is now accepting grant applications for FY24-25. All grant applications need to be postmarked or emailed to IOLTA@IowaCourts.gov on or before January 31, 2024. Here is the Grant Application Form (PDF) (DOCX). More information about the IOLTA grants may be found below. Inquiries or questions concerning the grants or the grant application process may be emailed to IOLTA@IowaCourts.gov.
IOLTA grant funds are generated entirely from interest earned on certain pooled trust accounts held by Iowa lawyers. Lawyers practicing law in Iowa are required by court order to deposit clients' funds the lawyers hold in interest-bearing accounts. When the funds involved are so small in amount or held for such a brief period of time that it is not possible for the funds to economically benefit the individual client, court rules require that lawyers deposit the funds in pooled interest-bearing trust accounts.
The IOLTA program is managed by a seven-member commission that reviews grant applications and then makes award recommendations to the supreme court. In the 30-year history of the IOLTA program, the supreme court has awarded most of the grants to organizations that assist low-income Iowans with civil legal problems such as divorce, domestic abuse, unsafe housing, and illegal evictions. The court has also presented grants to law-related education projects. IOLTA grants do not support criminal legal defense.
Overview of Grant Process
The Iowa Supreme Court Lawyer Trust Account Commission accepts applications for grants under the Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) program on an annual basis. Grant periods run on a fiscal year from July 1st through June 30th. IOLTA program grants are awarded to public purpose projects that provide legal services to low-income persons in civil cases, law-related education, and other programs that improve the administration of justice in Iowa.
The Commission must receive completed grant applications no later than the date specified. The Commission then reviews the applications and seeks approval from the Iowa Supreme Court for awarding the grants. Grant recipients are usually announced in late May or early June.
Grant Program Report Form (PDF). Use this form to submit the program evaluation report required of most grantees following the end of the first six months and twelve months of the grant year.
Grant Year (2023-2024)
On May 8, 2023, the Iowa Supreme Court approved $681,345 in grants to non-profit programs that provide legal assistance to low-income Iowans with civil legal problems. The court awarded grants to eleven different organizations throughout Iowa. The grants are funded by the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Account (IOLTA) program. With this year's grants, the supreme court has awarded more than $25 million in IOLTA grants since the program began on July 1,1985.
The following grants will be awarded for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2023, and ending June 30, 2024:
Iowa Legal Aid (Des Moines)—$400,497
For legal staff in Iowa Legal Aid regional offices for an established program of civil case assistance to low-income Iowans (service area: statewide).
Muscatine Legal Services (Muscatine)—$15,000
For legal staff to maintain an existing program of civil legal assistance to low-income residents (service area: Muscatine County).
Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project (Des Moines)—$75,285
For staff for volunteer lawyer referral service in Polk County serving the low-income community (service area: Polk County).
Civil Legal Assistance Fund, Second Judicial District (Mason City)—$7,500
Funds civil legal assistance to low-income fathers, mothers, or children involved in dissolution of marriage or modification cases in which other legal assistance is not available (service area: Second Judicial District).
Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault—$21,433
Funds legal support staff to assist victims of sexual assault (service area: statewide).
Iowa Legal Aid (Des Moines)—$59,700
For legal staff support to continue the Legal Hotline for Older Iowans (service area: statewide).
Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice (Des Moines)—$20,000
Funds legal services to low-income immigrants involved in removal proceedings or other immigration-law matters (service area: statewide).
Kids First Law Center (Cedar Rapids)—$12,895
Funds legal services to children in high-conflict divorce and custody cases when their parents cannot afford counsel for them (service area: Linn and Johnson counties).
Legal Aid Society of Story County (Ames)—$35,535
Funds legal services in civil case assistance to low-income Iowans (service area: Story county).
Civil Legal Assistance Fund, 3rd Judicial District (Sioux City)—$3,000.00
Funds civil legal assistance to low-income fathers, mothers, or children involved in dissolution of marriage or modification cases in which other legal assistance is not available (service area: Third Judicial District).
Iowa Center for Children’s Justice (Des Moines)—$10,000
Funds legal services to children in high-conflict divorce and custody cases when their parents cannot afford counsel for them (service area: Polk and Dallas counties).
Appanoose County Bar Association (Centerville)—$20,500
Funds civil legal assistance for economically disadvantaged individuals in the Appanoose County and Monroe County areas (Service area: Appanoose and Monroe counties).