Organizational Support Grants

org support

The CBF is committed to providing consistent general operating support grants to effective, well-managed pro bono and legal aid organizations in the Chicago area. Last year, the CBF awarded more than $1.2 million in Organizational Support grants to 33 pro bono and legal organizations. Each year, these grants are funded entirely by money raised from the legal community through the Investing in Justice Campaign.

The grantees provide a wide range of services—from grassroots organizations that focus on a particular legal issue or client population, to sizable organizations that provide legal assistance on a wide range of issues, to organizations that address larger systemic issues through impact litigation or policy reform. Each day, CBF-funded organizations help thousands of low-income people resolve serious legal issues, like special education, immigration, mortgage foreclosure, and obtaining child support and other benefits wrongfully denied. Brief descriptions of the CBF’s current grantee organizations can be found in the 2017 Grants List.

The CBF carefully vets pro bono and legal aid organizations and strategically allocates funds to make the biggest difference for people in need. Read more about the CBF’s grants process.

Evaluation Factors for Organizational Support Grants

Addresses Critical Legal Needs
Does the organization effectively and efficiently address critical legal needs that otherwise would be unaddressed or inadequately addressed?

Well-defined Mission and Vision
Does the organization have a sound vision for what it is trying to accomplish, a clear sense of how its mission advances that vision, and a solid understanding of how it fits into the larger pro bono and legal aid delivery system and broader community?

Effective Strategic Planning and Evaluation
Has the organization engaged in meaningful strategic planning and established effective measures for evaluating its progress and impact?

Strong Leadership and Governance
Does the organization have effective governance structures and strong and responsive leadership at both the Board and Executive Director levels?

Efficient Use of Resources
Does the organization effectively leverage staff, technology, non-attorney volunteers, funding, and other resources to increase and improve the services it provides?

Strategic Use of Pro Bono Attorneys
Where appropriate, does the organization strategically and effectively utilize pro bono attorneys and provide them with appropriate training and support?

Consistent and Successful Collaboration with Other Organizations
Is the organization taking appropriate steps to coordinate and/or collaborate with other relevant legal aid organizations and stakeholders in pursuit of the larger goal of equal access to justice?

Demonstrated Success
Does the organization have a demonstrated track record of stability, fiscal responsibility, and successfully advancing the organization’s mission?

Impact of Grant on the Organization
Will the CBF’s grant have a meaningful impact on the organization?


Organizational Support Grantees