Apply for a Grant

The New York Bar Foundation Grant program

The New York Bar Foundation solicits charitable contributions and provides funding to enhance the rule of law and the system of justice in New York. Grants are awarded in these four areas:

  • Facilitating the delivery of legal services
  • Improving the justice system and the law
  • Enhancing professional competence and ethics
  • Increasing public understanding of the law

The rule of law is a powerful concept that can bring people together in these fractious times. The basic idea is that governments guided by the Rule of Law provide a level playing field, evenhandedly applying a well-publicized set of laws, allowing fundamental rights to flourish, and providing other preconditions for justice to be done. The board of directors of the Foundation set a goal to improve rule of law adherence in New York State and sought to measure progress toward that goal. The board determined to focus on improving access to civil justice, an area of significant concern and need. 

In keeping with our Rule of Law theme, the Foundation’s grant making in the coming year prioritizes funding for civil legal services programs assisting with the essentials of life, namely:  

  • child support;
  • consumer debt;
  • housing (including evictions, foreclosures, and homelessness);
  • family matters (including domestic violence, children, and family stability);
  • access to health care; access to education;  and,
  • subsistence income (including wages, disability and other benefits).

Since the Foundation is one of few organizations that make law-related grants across the state, some of its grant making can be targeted specifically to the needs that have been identified locality by locality. For example: In Albany County: guardianship cases related to parents battling drug addiction; contested divorces; housing (landlord/tenant and foreclosure); immigration; access to public assistance; other drug addiction-related legal problems; and elder law. In Queens County: housing; family law; immigration. In Suffolk County: family law (divorce cases, post-judgment divorce issues, child support); immigration (deportation defense, citizen applications, education, and eviction); re-entry (for veterans/service members and formerly incarcerated individuals). The Foundation is also determined to reach rural areas of the state. It will also fund programs providing legal assistance for non-litigation civil matters related to housing, family law, immigration, and income maintenance. By better serving under-served people in these areas, we reinforce the rule of law as a unifying cornerstone of our democracy, improving individual lives as well as the health of the body politic. 

In an effort to streamline our process, we’ve migrated to an on-line system, offering you the opportunity to draft, save and submit your application at your convenience. Our system allows you to upload the documents that are necessary to submit your application with ease. All you need to do is create an account for your organization, and apply!

2021 Grant Applications will be accepted August 10 through October 15, 2020.  The deadline to submit an application for a grant to be used during 2021 is October 15, 2020.

** Please note, no paper applications will be accepted.


  • The grant application is available here.
  • Guidelines are available here.