Pro Bono News

Legal Aid Groups Cast Wider Net to Diversify Funding (IN)

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Legal Aid Groups Cast Wider Net to Diversify Funding

"The Indiana Supreme Court is preparing to ask for an increase in civil legal aid funding when the Indiana General Assembly convenes for the 2019 session.

The request will come as legal aid nonprofits try to diversify their donor base while looking for new ways to help the steady flow of people in need. It also comes as the future of traditional funding sources is uncertain.

Indianapolis legal aid leaders say cutting funding will exacerbate the problems of poverty well beyond the courtroom. For just about anyone who is struggling, providers say, a legal matter will likely be the barrier to getting a job and becoming self-sufficient.

“We talk about food and housing, but we ignore the underlying problems of maybe the reason that person doesn’t have housing is because they have an eviction on their record,” said John Floreancig, general counsel at Indianapolis Legal Aid Society. “Maybe some people will call me naïve to poverty, but I believe that legal problems are the basis of a lot of poverty in our community.”

Civil legal service providers have begun emphasizing that message as they have applied for grants and appealed to individuals for donations.

Indianapolis Legal Aid Society and Indiana Legal Services have expanded their fundraising staffs in recent years and are more aggressively seeking money outside of longtime funders..."

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