How to Apply

CY 2025 Annual Grant Cycle
The Lawyers Trust Fund is now accepting applications for grants for CY 2025 (January 1 – December 31, 2025). Applications are due on September 16, 2024, and grant awards will be announced in mid-December 2024.

Annual Grant Guidelines
For more information about LTF’s grantmaking and the process for applying for a grant, please read the Grant Guidelines and Instructions for CY 2025. If you have any questions about LTF’s grant guidelines and priorities, please contact Deputy Executive Director for Grants & Legal Affairs David Holtermann at 312-938-3076 or via email.

LTF Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for grant funding from LTF, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be an Illinois-based non-profit organization that is tax-exempt under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Serve Illinois residents who cannot afford to hire private legal counsel, which is generally defined as having incomes below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines.
  • Provide services without charge to the client. [Note: This does not mean applicants cannot charge sliding-scale fees to clients with incomes above 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, nor does it mean that grantees cannot require clients to pay court costs or related expenses that cannot be waived. However, LTF funds can only be used to support free services.]
  • Employ at least one (1) paid, full-time equivalent staff attorney who has been licensed to practice for a minimum of three years at the time the application is due. (Applicants who do not meet this requirement may consider requesting a temporary, one-time waiver of this requirement. See the next paragraph for more details about making a request.)

Waiver of One-Attorney Requirement
Emerging organizations or legal aid programs based in under-resourced communities (with a special emphasis on those led and/or governed by members of historically marginalized groups) may seek a temporary, one-year waiver of the one-attorney requirement from the LTF board through the process described on pages 9 and 10 of the Grant Guidelines. Waiver decisions will be granted based on multiple factors, as well as the overall availability of funds, and will be made at the sole discretion of the LTF board of directors. For LTF’s purposes, an “emerging organization or legal aid program” is generally defined as a non-profit organization or legal aid program of a non-profit organization created within three years of the application due date and/or with an annual budget of under $300,000 as of the application due date.

How to Apply for a Grant
Interested organizations must use LTF’s online application portal to apply for a CY 2025 grant. LTF is using a new portal for CY 2025 (GOapply) and every applicant will need to establish a new account on the portal to access the application. The narrative and data collection portions of the application in GOapply are very similar to CY 2024, but the online user experience and data reporting procedures are different. To assist applicants using the new grants portal, LTF has created a User Guide to the new system.

Information Sessions
LTF will hold four sessions via Zoom to provide information about LTF grants and the application process. Both current grantees and prospective new applicants are welcome to participate, but participation is optional. The sessions are scheduled for the following dates:

  • July 17 at 2:00pm – New applicant information session (This session will explain LTF’s grant guidelines, eligibility criteria, and factors in grant awards)
  • July 25 at 10:00am – General grant application information session
  • July 30 at 10:00am – New applicant information session (Repeats content of July 17 session)
  • August 14 at 2:00pm – General grant application information session (Repeats content of July 25 session)

Please register for a session in advance via email.

Applicant Support
Quick links to the guidelines, user guide, data collection instructions, and other materials are available on the Applicant Support webpage.

If you have questions about completing the application and supplying the requested data, please contact Deputy Executive Director for Grants & Legal Affairs David Holtermann at 312-938-3076 or via email; or Program Officer for Legal Services Nebula Li at 312-938-2106 or via email.

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