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Bar foundation awards $332,200 to nonprofits

COLUMBUS — The Ohio State Bar Foundation has awarded $332,200 in grants to Ohio nonprofit organizations working to promote the public understanding of the rule of law and striving to build a better justice system.

These grants take on a broad range of issues, including immigration, name and gender marker changes, affordable housing for low-income households, civic education, online legal help, advocacy training, and legal training for nonprofit organizations.

“This year, we plan to grant over $1 million to projects that will make a positive difference in the lives of Ohioans,” bar foundation President Kris Burkett stated in a news release.

The spring grant recipients are:

• $116,000 to the Ohio Center for Law Related Education to support the expansion of civics and law related education to students and teachers through its Ohio Mock Trial, We the People, Moot Court, and Project Citizen & Youth for Justice programs. This project serves all counties statewide.

• $62,000 to the Equality Ohio Education Fund to provide accurate and up-to-date information about services and procedures for changing gender markers on Ohio birth certificates for transgender individuals. This project will include the hosting of monthly legal clinics and the creation of educational videos. Additionally, Equality Ohio will provide cultural humility training to its Attorney Referral Network. This project serves all counties statewide.

• $54,200 to the Pro Bono Partnership of Ohio to engage and strengthen community-based nonprofits through the provision of legal services. This project aims to increase access to justice for organizations that have historically lacked the resources and connections to find legal assistance by recruiting new, community-based nonprofit clients, and re-engaging a set of current clients that fit within this category. Funding will allow PBPO to provide individualized assistance to at least 35 nonprofit organizations in southwestern Ohio. This project serves Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties.

• $50,000 to Ohio Legal Help to add robust chat features to its website to better assist users find the information they need. The new features will include an automated ChatBot as well as a LiveChat staffed by volunteer law students from Case Western Reserve University. This project serves all counties statewide.

• $25,000 to the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland to create a comprehensive report on the availability of safe, affordable housing for low-income Cuyahoga County residents with a special focus on lead hazards and racial disparities. In partnership with data scientists at Case Western Reserve University, this research project will highlight the prevalence of lead in available rental homes and the racial inequalities prevalent in the affordable housing crisis. This project will serve Cuyahoga County.

• $15,000 to the Catholic Charities Corporation to create clinics to assist individuals in navigating complex immigration court procedures and file asylum applications with all information necessary to preserve eligibility for relief. The project is designed to maximize the number of clients receiving competent legal assistance from a trained provider and will be the first of its kind in Ohio. This project will serve Cuyahoga County.

• $10,000 to the Ohio State Legal Services Association to provide advocacy skills training for Legal Aid attorneys and low-income advocates. This project will combine virtual and in-person elements to offer participants the best possible experience. This project will train representatives from all 25 Legal Aid offices in Ohio, as well as produce a version of the training for community advocates. This project serves all counties statewide.

The OSBF is now accepting applications for the fall cycle grant awards, with a deadline of Aug. 15, 2022. From small to large grants, the OSBF welcomes first-time grantees as well as returning grantees. Those wanting to learn more about any of the grantees, be connected with one of the organizations directly, or know more about the Ohio State Bar Foundation’s grantmaking process, contact OSBF’s Grants Manager Laura Spires at LSpires@osbf.net

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