About Us

We are Philadelphia’s philanthropic hub for legal aid, engaging the legal community and embodying their commitment to access to justice for all.

Our Mission

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation is dedicated to promoting access to justice for all people in the community, particularly those struggling with poverty, abuse, and discrimination. The Bar Foundation is the embodiment of the Philadelphia legal community’s commitment to this fundamental principle. We accomplish this mission by providing grants and technical assistance in support of quality legal services, addressing unmet legal needs and providing education on matters in the public interest.

Through our various programs, services and partnerships, we (1) remove barriers to justice, (2) engage the legal community, and (3) build sysetm-wide capacity. 

Our History

We are one of the leading Bar Foundations in the nation.

  • The Philadelphia Bar Foundation was founded in 1964 as a division of the Bar Association. 
  • Since 1973, the Bar Foundation has operated as an independent, charitable 501(c)(3) organization.
  • We are the only foundation in Philadelphia solely dedicated to supporting our city's legal services community, awarding over $3 million in grants and other assistance in the last five years.
  • Over 35 nonprofit legal aid organizations receive annual grants and other support from the Bar Foundation, representing the full range of vital services for people in need.

Philadelphia is the original home of the legal aid movement.

  • In 1939, the Philadelphia Neighborhood Law Office Plan was formed and implemented, serving the civil legal needs of people living in poverty.
  • The Philadelphia Bar Association eventually took over the funding and operation of the Neighborhood Law Offices.
  • In 1964, President Johnson and the U.S. Congress used the Philadelphia model to create the first nationwide Legal Services Program as part of the Economic Opportunity Act.
  • With support from the Bar Foundation, the legal aid network serving the Philadelphia community has grown over time to be one of the most effective, broad-based, and respected in the country.