Details About Our Grantmaking Process

The Bar Foundation implements a thorough annual grantmaking process, which usually begins in May and goes through December.

Eligibility – The Philadelphia Bar Foundation grants are awarded to nonprofit legal aid organizations performing the following general areas of work:

  • Offer free or low-cost legal services via staff-based legal assistance. The Bar Foundation places a high priority on those applicants providing direct delivery of legal services to residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding region.
  • Recruit, train, and support volunteer attorneys.
  • Promote equal access to justice by providing education on matters in the public interest.


Application – Applicants are asked to provide a Proposal Narrative that includes an organization overview, a report on objectives met and accomplishments achieved for the past fiscal year, a work plan for the new fiscal year, proposed impact measurements and outcomes, and detailed financial reports.

Initial Review – The Grants Committee and members of the Board of Trustees for the Bar Foundation carefully review the submitted applications. A financial management professional performs an in-depth analysis of each organization’s financial statement and may request additional information.

Site Visits and Interviews – The Grants Committee and Trustees conduct site visits at all new applicant organizations and, approximately every three years, visits organizations that have received ongoing grant support from the Bar Foundation. In addition, the Committee holds in-person interviews at the Foundation’s offices with the executive directors of all applicant organizations.

Prioritizing – All application information is evaluated and prioritized by the Grants Committee. Site visit and interview reports, financial review information, and grant applications are reviewed by the full Committee.

Final decisions – Funding decisions are made with input from the Bar Foundation’s Finance Committee and with final approval of the Bar Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Applicants are notified in writing following the Bar Foundation’s December board meeting.

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