ABA Military and Veterans Legal Center announces grants to California programs

The American Bar Association Military and Veterans Legal Center (MVLC) announced this week  it has awarded a total of $100,000 in ABA Veterans Legal Assistance Grants to these organizations:

• Public Counsel ($35,000)—Founded in 1970, Public Counsel is the nation’s largest provider of pro bono legal services, utilizing an innovative legal model to promote justice, hope, and opportunity in lower-income and communities of color in Los Angeles and across the nation. Through civil rights litigation, community building, advocacy, and policy change, as well as wide-ranging direct legal services that annually help thousands of people experiencing poverty, Public Counsel has fought to secure equal justice and opportunity for all for more than 50 years.

• Swords to Plowshares ($35,000)—A community-based not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1974, Swords to Plowshares is dedicated to supporting nearly 3,000 homeless, low-income and at-risk veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area every year.  Its services support veterans in three key areas: health & wellness, housing support, and financial stability.

• Community Veteran Justice Project ($30,000)—The project is dedicated to ensuring current and former military service members receive the information, support, and services they need to use California’s Veteran Statutes to improve their lives. The Community Veteran Justice Project provides specific services, policy advocacy, and community education to assist justice-involved service members/veterans with obtaining alternative sentencing for some felonies, and diversion for misdemeanor cases.

In 2022, the MVLC accepted grant applications from nonprofit organizations with projects based in California that deliver legal services to veterans primarily in California. Up
to three organizations could receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $40,000.

The MVLC created the grant program so that state and local programs can better meet the legal needs of underserved veteran populations within their communities. To help fund the grants, the ABA received a donation from a foundation that wishes to remain anonymous. The ABA received this funding as a result of the 2016-17 ABA Veterans Legal Services Initiative.

In evaluating proposals, preference was given to programs that meet at least one of the grant’s three primary objectives:

  • Providing outreach and legal services
  • Collaborating with other legal services
  • Creating or improving referral databases

“Through the ABA Veterans Legal Assistance Grant program, the ABA is proud to support nonprofit legal organizations that assist servicemembers, veterans and their families,” ABA President Reginald Turner said. “Through these grants, the ABA helps fill access-to-justice gaps within these legal organizations’ local military and veterans communities.”


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