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2018 American Bar Endowment Opportunity Grants Program

Grants to USA Nonprofits for Urgent or Short-Term
Programs in Legal Research, Education, or Public Service

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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American Bar Endowment (ABE)

Deadline Date:



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Grants to USA nonprofits to start or improve short-term programs that address immediate issues in the areas of law-related education, research, or public service projects. Eligible programs may address one of the following areas of focus: access to justice initiatives, rule of law initiatives, legal services initiatives, and civics education on the American legal/justice system.

The goal of the Opportunity Grants program is to assist eligible grantees in the development or enhancement of innovative programs and projects that address issues of immediate and critical interest to the public and members of the legal profession. Examples of areas of focus include rule of law initiatives, access to justice initiatives, civics education on the American legal/justice system, and legal services initiatives.

ABE Opportunity Grants are intended to support specific programs and projects that address urgent needs and emerging opportunities and/or that might not otherwise be able to obtain funding from alternative sources in a short period of time. Typically, the use of these grant funds will be of short duration (e.g., 12 months).

Grants under this program to entities previously supported during ABE's regular annual grant cycle are to be considered independent of that cycle. It is expected that a program or project receiving an Opportunity Grant will become self-sustaining.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184364

Estimated Size of Grant:

Last year's grants were typically for $20,000, although several were for larger amounts based on programmatic need.

Term of Contract:

Typically, the use of these grant funds will be of short duration (e.g., 12 months).

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

An eligible grantee is an organization currently determined to be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and classified as a public charity under section 509 (a) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Examples of potential grantees include from state and local bar associations and foundations; law school legal clinic programs; legal aid/pro bono legal services organizations; juvenile justice organizations; domestic violence shelters providing legal assistance; and veterans' legal assistance organizations.

Opportunity Grants will not be made to programs or projects that are intended to influence legislation, or to government regulatory agencies.

It is the preference of the ABE that grant funds not be used for the salaries of existing staff; capital expenditures; administrative overhead; services that may be duplicative of or overlap with the same type of activities carried on by another organization or organizations in the immediate geographic area of the applicant; events and sponsorships that are not a direct part of carrying on the actual program or project function; or to address operating deficits.

Pre-Application Information:

Grant applications must be submitted to the ABE by October 31, 2018 for consideration and announcement of the grant awards by February 28, 2019. Funding of the grants will take place by April 1, 2019. An applicant with a proposal that has time-sensitive needs and/or limited opportunities may request that the ABE consider the application prior to February 28, 2019.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the ABE directly to discuss any urgent grant request.

If a grant is awarded that has a matching feature, the Grantee is required to obtain the matching funds necessary to fully implement the project before the Opportunity Grant funds will be released. Upon raising the match amount, the Grantee must provide the ABE with information about the sources of the matching gifts and evidence of receipt of those funds.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Email applications to

Mail applications to:

American Bar Endowment
321 North Clark Street, 14th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60654-7648
Attention: Opportunity Grants

Joanne Martin, Executive Director of the ABE
800-621-8981, ext. 6408 or 312-988-6408

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming