The Virginia Law Foundation is thrilled to award nearly $550,000 in grants to 24 organization this year. Since the establishment of our grants program in 1984, the Virginia Law Foundation has distributed more than $27.5 million in grants to initiatives and nonprofits throughout Virginia aligning with the Foundation’s mission to promote the Rule of Law, access to justice, and law-related education. Learn more about our 2022 grant recipients below.
APPALACHIAN SCHOOL OF LAW — Medical Legal Partnership — $25,000
The Appalachian School of Law (ASL) continues their Medical-Legal Partnership with Ballad Health, an integrated healthcare system serving Southwest Virginia. This partnership maintains the goals of improving access to justice for medical patients with unmet legal needs and addressing healthcare demands attributable to or exacerbated by unmet legal needs. Under the supervision of licensed attorneys, ASL students will provide free legal services to Ballad’s low-income patients, which gives the students an experiential learning opportunity. To better understand the impact of this program, Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business will contribute analytics to measure the program’s success.
BLUE RIDGE LEGAL SERVICES — Free Civil Legal Assistance for Low-Income Seniors — $25,000
Blue Ridge Legal Services is a charitable legal aid program committed to eliminating poverty-based inequities in the civil justice system by providing high-quality legal advice and representation to low-income residents of the Shenandoah and Roanoke Valleys. This project will provide free legal assistance in the form of legal information, legal advice and brief services, and direct representation to low-income seniors in the Central Shenandoah Valley, namely, the counties of Rockingham, Augusta, Page, Highland, and the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro. The project will target seniors with critical legal needs, with a special focus on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation cases.
CAPITAL AREA IMMIGRANTS’ RIGHTS COALITION — Virginia Justice Project — $20,000
The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR) strives to ensure equal justice for all immigrant adults and children at risk of detention and deportation in the capital region and beyond through direct legal representation, know-your-rights presentations, impact litigation, advocacy, and the enlistment and training of intern attorneys. The Virginia Justice Project ensures that public defenders and court appointed counsel in Virginia are educated regarding the immigration consequences of crimes. This greatly increases the likelihood that an indigent noncitizen in Virginia will have access to defense counsel competent to advise them about the potential adverse immigration consequences of their case.
During the eighth year of this program, CAIR will train 600 Virginia criminal defense attorneys through two virtual trainings, produce and maintain written materials on an ongoing basis, and execute necessary trainings to support the 315 Virginia public defender attorneys in the 25 public defender offices and the 2,500 court-appointed attorneys in Virginia. This project will impact more than 3,000 indigent non-citizen Virginia residents involved in the criminal justice system.
CANCER LINC — Access to Justice for Latino and Spanish-Speaking Cancer Patients in Central & Southside Virginia — $10,000
CancerLINC provides access to justice for low-income cancer patients who otherwise would not have attorneys, financial professionals, and others to help them address the non-medical problems they face as a result of their cancer diagnosis — medical debt, eviction, bankruptcy, employment insecurity, and similar challenges. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics and Latinos, and due to disproportionate poverty and other healthcare barriers, Hispanics are especially vulnerable to cancer inequalities. In 2021, CancerLINC created their first-ever bilingual language resources, and this grant will support continued development of bilingual resources and programs to better support underserved Latino cancer patients in Central and Southside Virginia. In addition, CancerLINC will be launching a targeted community outreach effort, increasing access to pro-bono legal and financial resources these patients could not afford otherwise.
CHARLOTTESVILLE ALBEMARLE BAR ASSOCIATION — Volunteer Lawyer Program — $12,500
The Charlottesville Albemarle Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyer Program (VLP) is a community-driven and community-responsive project that provides a structure for attorneys to deliver high-impact free legal services that transform the lives of their neighbors while deepening attorneys’ pre-existing commitment to justice-seeking work. Over the next three years, the VLP will take a novel approach that fosters innovative, transformative, and reinvigorating pro bono projects, allowing attorneys to respond more readily to unexpected and unsupported community crises. By creating the infrastructure for pro bono legal services that maximize community responsiveness alongside participating lawyers’ passions and talents, the VLP will amplify access to justice by facilitating unique and meaningful legal relationships between attorneys, their clients, and the community.
DRIVE-TO-WORK — Restoring Driving Privileges for Underserved Markets — $25,000
Drive-To-Work (DTW) assists low income and previously incarcerated persons to restore their driving privileges so they can drive to work, maintain a job, and improve their lives and communities at-large. Many DTW clients face extreme challenges due to re-entry employment issues, and many have experienced job loss because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Support from the Virginia Law Foundation will allow DTW to offer financial support to clients having difficulty paying for legal services and overcoming the barriers to getting their license restored and will increase the number of inquiries, applicants, clients, and driver’s licenses restored by 10%.
FAIRFAX LAW FOUNDATION — Northern Virginia Pro Bono Law Center Neighborhood Outreach Program — $25,000
The Northern Virginia Pro Bono Law Center of the Fairfax Law Foundation provides legal assistance to poverty and low-income residents through their Neighborhood Outreach Program. As part of this Program, volunteer lawyers travel to partnering sites throughout the community or meet virtually to help those most in need. Due to their work with long-standing community organizations, the Fairfax Law Foundation broadens this program’s impact on those who would otherwise be denied access to legal service by enabling pro bono attorneys to meet with potential populations seeking legal aid in their facilities. The partnership between the law center and each of the neighborhood sites is crucial as it helps the Neighborhood Outreach Program reach its intended beneficiaries and alleviates the burden on low-income clients, making it easier for them to meet with a pro bono attorney.
FREEKIND — Offramps Program — $30,000
Freekind works to prevent human trafficking and support those it impacts on their journey to freedom. Their Offramps Program improves access to justice for victims of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation by strengthening criminal justice partnerships to more effectively identify victims who would otherwise go unidentified or misidentified, and by advocating for alternative sentencing through restorative services rather than increased incarceration. With the support from the Virginia Law Foundation, Freekind will add a third case manager to their team, which will empower the organization to reach 65 additional survivors of human trafficking in at least one or more new jails. They will also develop protocols that will reduce harm and enhance early identification of victims, giving them access to services.
JAMESTOWN REDISCOVERY FOUNDATION — The First Assembly and Establishment of Rule of Law in English America — $25,000
The Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation (JRF) supports the preservation, education, and archaeological investigation of Jamestown, the original site of the first permanent English settlement in America. The United States’ first form of representative government, the General Assembly, convened inside Jamestown’s church in the summer of 1619. There, the fundamental principles of a free people —private property, Rule of Law, and self-governance — were established and democracy in America was born. Today, it is essential to examine the Rule of Law, and learning about our nation’s past allows us to influence the future. With support from the Virginia Law Foundation, JRF will facilitate First Assembly education through on-site tours and programming, virtual field trips, and pre-recorded tours for Jamestown’s web outreach.
JAZZ4JUSTICE — Jazz4Justice Concerts — $8,000
Through collaborative partnerships with the legal community, the business community, the music community, and universities throughout Virginia, Jazz4Justice raises public awareness about the justice gap and music education. Jazz4Justice uses music as a vehicle to connect communities, educate audiences on the justice gap, and fundraise to support legal aid organizations helping those most in need. Several times a year, university, college, or community college music programs will host a concert featuring jazz music, and the local bar or bar foundation will solicit sponsors and promote the concert to the community. Proceeds from the event, minus expenses, are divided between the bar foundation/local legal aid and the music program. The Virginia Law Foundation grant will enable Jazz4Justice to create additional educational content such as a video or livestream, focusing on the Rule of Law and the need for all Virginians to have access to justice.
JOHN MARSHALL CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY & CIVICS — Justice in the Classroom 2.2 — $30,000
The John Marshall Center (JMC) educates the public about the Rule of Law under the Constitution through the life, character, and services of America’s great chief justice. Teachers in Virginia appreciate John Marshall Center’s help in equipping them to better educate students about the relationship between a fair and impartial judiciary and the Rule of Law. Created by JMC to enhance the teaching of history, government, and civics to middle and high school students, Justice in the Classroom gives teachers access to high-quality, up-to-date teaching materials and empowers students with the knowledge and tools necessary to be civic-ready in Virginia. For Justice in the Classroom 2.2, JMC will increase direct services and content delivery to students, continue to support teachers with Virginia-SOL-based lesson plans and materials, and maintain thought leadership in Rule of Law education.
JUST NEIGHBORS — Rural Immigration Legal Services Program — $20,000
The Just Neighbors Rural Immigration Legal Services Program provides high-quality immigration legal services to Virginia’s most vulnerable immigrants, asylees, and refugees — who were even more vulnerable due to how the pandemic disproportionately affected this population. Immigrants in rural areas of Virginia lack direct, immigration-focused services, and while many have a pathway to legal status, this can only be achieved through competent legal representation. Since the rural program’s launch in 2019, Just Neighbors has expanded its geographic reach and access to justice efforts. With the support of this grant, they will provide immigration legal services to at least 50 rural Virginia families, offer immigration law education to both immigrants and the community at-large, and increase access to justice by training and educating volunteers and local practitioners about immigration law.
LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA FOUNDATION — Preserving and Sharing the Virginia Convention of 1776 Collection — $30,000
The Library of Virginia, founded in 1823, houses the most comprehensive collection of materials on Virginia government, history, and culture in the world. As the nation prepares to celebrate its 250th founding anniversary in 2026, the Library of Virginia is preparing the Virginia Convention of 1776 collection to form a foundation base for anniversary-related education resources and public engagement. The Virginia Law Foundation grant will support the preparation and digitization of this collection for public experience and use while also increasing the awareness and usability of the Virginia Convention of 1776 records. Not only do more than 100,000 people visit the library each year, but more than four million people annually engage with digital resources, expanding the scope of this project and impact.
MONTPELIER FOUNDATION — Public Constitutional Initiatives and Education — $25,000
Montpelier embraces its unique identity as a monument to James Madison, a museum of American history, and a center for constitutional education that engages the public with the enduring legacy of Madison’s most powerful idea: government by the people. As the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution and architect of the Bill of Rights, Montpelier’s mission is to communicate Madison’s role in creating our modern, democratic government. To meet the continued challenge of improving constitutional literacy, Montpelier launched the Constitution Initiative to empower people to become educated, engaged, and active participants in democracy. The Virginia Law Foundation grant will support the Constitution Initiative Director in bolstering free Constitutional programming for students, teachers, and community members, fostering new partnerships with civic-focused organizations, and supporting the implementation of “how-to” workshops that integrate the historical and contextual background of First Amendment rights in facilitated small group sessions.
RANDOLPH-MACON COLLEGE — Virginia Amendments Project — $14,569
Randolph-Macon College integrates outstanding liberal arts education and success strategies to develop the mind and character of its students with the ultimate intention of preparing undergraduates for successful lives. The Virginia Amendments Project at Randolph-Macon College (VAP-RMC) will provide the first publicly available resource listing amendments to the Constitution of Virginia. VAP-RMC will catalog and analyze the current list of 53 amendments, provide the first searchable digital copy of the 1971 Constitution revision, and offer a hub of public conservation, scholarship, and civic and legal education concerning Virginia’s rich constitutional history.
RESOLUTION VIRGINIA — Access to Co-Parenting Education — $8,000
Resolution Virginia is a consortium of non-profit community-based centers working to help Virginians resolve conflict constructively. Staff and affiliates provide affordable mediation, training, conflict coaching, classes, and restorative justice services to community members in need. Virginia §16.1-278.15 and 20-103 requires parties to any petition where a child whose custody, visitation, or support is contested to attend an educational seminar that addresses the effects of separation or divorce on children, parenting responsibilities, options for conflict resolution, and financial responsibilities. This court-ordered seminar can be a sincere financial hardship for individuals and families, and this grant will support indigent parents by offsetting most of the cost of the Access to Co-Parenting Education program by reducing the cost to $10. This critically important seminar educates separating or separated parents on how to co-parent their children in a supportive and non-confrontational manner, and in turn, their children experience the emotional and financial benefits of having both parents involved in their lives.
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA LEGAL AID SOCIETY — Prevention Awareness for Vulnerable Populations — $18,000
The Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society (SVLAS) champions equal justice for low-income Virginians. They work to remedy the conditions that burden this community by providing high-quality, courteous, and effective legal services and information to those facing serious threats to their personal, economic, or family stability. In an effort to enhance awareness and knowledge of attorneys concerning elder abuse, guardianship for elders, domestic violence, and sexual assault, SVLAS is developing two one-day training conferences for attorneys to learn more about the law and dynamics of these issues. Each training will serve attorneys, prosecutors, magistrates, judges, clerks, court unit staff, law enforcement, and others. The conferences’ sessions will offer quality education to increase professional development and awareness while offering local and regional networking opportunities.
VA CIVICS — We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Teacher Training Cohort Professional Development Series — $20,000
VA Civics empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia through constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. Using a rigorous and proven professional development program, Virginia Civics will train middle and high school teachers on using the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution curriculum to increase teacher and student knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, the Rule of Law, institutions of government, rights and responsibilities, and citizenship. Renowned scholars will facilitate development seminars across a fully funded four-day Summer Institute, and four, one-day follow-up trainings in the fall, winter, and spring. The We the People curriculum has been fully mapped to Virginia’s Standards of Learning requirements and serves as an effective Performance-Based Assessment for teachers.
VIRGINIA HISPANIC CHAMBER FOUNDATION — Hybrid Civil and Immigration Assistance Project — $20,000
Established in 2003 as a 501c3 partner to the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Hispanic Chamber Foundation (VAHF) creates, promotes, and enhances the educational, social, and financial well-being of Latinos and supports cross-cultural economic growth in Virginia. The impact of COVID on the Hispanic community has been far-reaching. In 2020, Hispanics made up 9% of the population but 43% of the state’s COVID-19 cases, and due to a variety of challenges, including the pandemic, the VAHF was unable to provide in-person legal services from 2019 to 2021. With support from the Virginia Law Foundation, the VAHF will develop a hybrid model of the Civil & Immigration Assistance Project and will use technology to offer pro bono legal services to an especially vulnerable community. This project will create an accessible network of pro bono legal clinics, provide bilingual services and information to the at-risk Hispanic/Latinx population across the state, and increase law firm partnerships to support increased capacity of clients.
VIRGINIA JUDGES & LAWYERS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (VJLAP) — Wellness Conferences — $15,000
Virginia Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (VJLAP) provides confidential, non-disciplinary assistance to lawyers, judges, law students, and legal professionals who are experiencing professional impairment as a result of substance abuse or mental health problems. VJLAP’s services are designed to promote recovery, protect the client, prevent disciplinary problems for the lawyer, support their families and professional associates, and strengthen the profession. To better equip legal professional with information and tools for detecting, intervening early, and addressing substance use and mental health concerns, VJLAP will present three multi-day conferences for judges, lawyers, law students, and other legal professionals in 2022: the 19th Annual VJLAP Fall Retreat, the 2nd Annual Mid-Atlantic Women Legal Professionals’ Retreat, and the 2nd Annual George H. Hettrick Volunteer Symposium. Each will provide Virginia’s legal professionals with opportunities for professional enhancement, wellness skill-building, and community-building.
VIRGINIA LAW SCHOOLS — Public Service Internships — $60,000
Supported by the Virginia Law Foundation since 1989, public service internships for first- and second-year law students help bring to light the importance of public interest and pro bono work. Each of Virginia’s eight American Bar Association-accredited law schools receives funding for public service internships during the summer. The students work under the supervision of an attorney. The work they complete varies widely, depending on the missions and caseloads of their host organizations. Some students gain experience working on individual client matters and others work on larger projects in an organization’s service area.
VIRGINIA POVERTY LAW CENTER — Annual Statewide Legal Aid Conference — $32,500
The Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) breaks down systemic barriers that keep low-income Virginians in the cycle of poverty through advocacy, education, and litigation. Each year, the VPLC holds an annual conference to provide CLE-certified trainings on poverty law issues, including consumer, health, family, housing, and other areas of civil poverty law, and this grant will help underwrite costs associated with the three-day event. This conference has become the premier poverty legal education conference in Virginia, and with the expanded hybrid model, even more people can attend either in-person or remotely to learn how to best support their low-income clients and obtain their required CLE credits at no cost to them or their legal aid organization.
VIRGINIA SEXUAL & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACTION ALLIANCE — Project for the Empowerment of Survivors — $25,000
The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance’s Project for the Empowerment of Survivors (PES) bridges the justice gap faced by underserved Virginians who are survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Through this program, the Action Alliance offers direct legal assistance to Virginia’s survivors of sexual and domestic violence and training to the legal community to expand capacity to meet survivors’ needs. PES offers survivors, particularly those who are traditionally underserved, an opportunity to find answers to legal questions, gain insight into additional legal issues, carefully weigh legal options via phone and chat, and be linked with legal advocacy and legal services in their communities.
VIRGINIA VICTIM ASSISTANCE NETWORK — Victim Assistance Academies — $25,000
Virginia Victim Assistance Network (VVAN) advocates for the needs of crime victims and provides victim assistance training for professionals and is the Commonwealth’s statewide membership organization for victim/witness advocates and other victim services professionals. Each year, its membership organizations assist over 75,000 victims of crime. The Virginia Law Foundation’s grant will support the Victim Assistance Academies (Basic and Advanced) and Directors’ Forum, which are annual, comprehensive trainings for both beginning and experienced crime victim advocates. These trainings will provide critical legal education to crime victim advocates and will enable them to serve victims of crime in Virginia with current, evidence-based practices that promote access to justice, amplify victims’ needs, and minimize the re-traumatization often inherent within the legal system.