NOTICE OF OPENING OF GRANT APPLICATION SUBMISSION PROCESS
The Lawyers Trust Account Commission is now accepting grant applications for FY2021-2022. 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.
Under the provisions of chapter 44 of the Iowa Court Rules, applicants must file one copy of their application in paper form, and one copy of their application in electronic form. Organizations may obtain a copy of the rules and grant application forms (paper and electronic) by contacting the Lawyer Trust Account Commission, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50319, 515-348-4670, or by sending an mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Application forms also may be downloaded here: Grant Application Form (PDF) (DOCX).
Deadline: The Commission must receive a copy of the completed electronic grant applications by email on or before Friday, January 29, 2021. A copy of the application in paper form must be postmarked on or before Friday, January 29, 2021, to be considered. The Commission will review the applications and seek approval from the Iowa Supreme Court for awarding the grants. Grant recipients will be announced in late May or early June of 2021.
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 month of the grant year.
Current Grant Year (2019-2020)
The Iowa Supreme Court approved $432,489.64 in grants to nonprofit programs that provide legal assistance to low-income Iowans with civil legal problems for fiscal year 2019. The following grants were awarded for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2020:
Iowa Legal Aid—$258,512.67
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—$12,000
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—$56,183.73
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—$10,500
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).
Know Your Constitution Committee of the Young Lawyers Division, The Iowa State Bar Association—$1,954.00
Funds for the Know Your Constitution Program, which provides education to Iowa high school students about the United States Constitution (service area: statewide).
Clinical Law Program, Drake University Law School and University of Iowa College of Law Legal Clinics—$15,754.83
Funds to continue the Poverty Law Internship Program, a clinical law program in which upper level law students intern with legal assistance providers throughout the state (service area: statewide).
Iowa Legal Aid—$37,618.80
For legal staff support to continue the Legal Hotline for Older Iowans (service area: statewide).
Iowa Justice For Our Neighbors—$10,864.56
Funds legal services to low-income immigrants involved in removal proceedings or other immigration-law matters (service area: statewide).
Kids First Law Center—$5,846.40
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).
Appanoose County Bar Association—$5,521.02
Funds civil legal assistance for economically disadvantaged individuals in the Appanoose County and Monroe County areas (Service area: Appanoose and Monroe counties).
Civil Legal Assistance Fund, Third Judicial District—$5,250.00
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).
Legal Aid Society of Story County (Ames)—$12,483.63
Funds legal services in civil case assistance to low-income Iowans (service area: Story County).
In addition, the supreme court approved $1,000,00i0 n grant funding for funds obtained as part of an August 2014 U.S. Department of Justice $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America and its former and current subsidiaries, including Countrywide Financial Corporation and Merrill Lynch. The settlement resolved civil investigations relating to residential mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, and practices concerning the underwriting and origination of loans. More than $30 million of the settlement was allocated to IOLTA programs in the U.S. for foreclosure prevention programs and community redevelopment legal services.
The following grants were awarded for a two year period beginning the fiscal year of July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2021:
Iowa Legal Aid Foreclosure Prevention Project—$200,000
For a project providing community outreach to educate targeted communities about the foreclosure processes and other services which would be of benefit to individuals dealing with a foreclosure situation. (service area: statewide).
Muscatine Legal Services—$32,000
For a project focusing on informing the public of the risks of foreclosure and providing legal services regarding debt restructuring and negotiations with mortgage companies when facing foreclosure. (service area: Muscatine County).
Drake University Law School Redevelopment and Entrepreneurial Legal Clinic—$250,000
For a project to support business development and revitalize neighborhoods by providing legal educational resources, direct legal representation, and legal advocacy services aimed directly at business and community-based nonprofit organizations. (service area: Polk Count).
Iowa Legal Aid Race Equity Project—$150,000
For a project providing legal assistance in expungement issues and other employment barriers which have arisen from criminal justice involvement (service area: Polk, Black Hawk, Scott and Dubuque counties).
Iowa Legal Aid Community Economic Development Project—$150,000
For a project providing legal services to low-income individuals seeking to start and run local businesses (service area: statewide).
Iowa Legal Aid Community Stabilization Project—$118,000
For a project providing early intervention in housing issues (service area: Waterloo, Council Bluffs, Des Moines).
Iowa Legal Aid Immigration Stabilization Project—$100,000
For a project implementing a state wide immigrant legal services hotline for immigrants and refugees seeking legal assistance (service area: statewide).