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 Vision

A Philadelphia community in which everyone has equal access to justice.

Our Mission

Through programs, grants, and partnerships, the Philadelphia Bar Foundation removes barriers to justice, engages the community in support of civil legal aid, and builds system-wide capacity in order to strengthen the provision of quality legal services and to ensure that all individuals understand their rights to equal justice under law.

Our Core Values

  • We believe all people should have equal access to justice and the right to legal representation.
  • We believe in a just and fair society; when we work to provide an equitable and inclusive playing field, we make our legal system fairer.
  • We believe in our responsibility to advocate for equal access to justice wherever possible, to drive change and provide legal services to underserved communities.
  • We believe in recognizing, supporting, and celebrating the efforts of partners and collaborators who further these principles; the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts.
  • We believe in amplifying the unique value that the Philadelphia Legal Aid community provides.

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 1964, 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.
  • Nearly 40 non-profit 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.