ACJF Community Redevelopment Legal Services Grants
Request for Proposals
The Alabama Civil Justice Foundation is pleased to announce a new round of funding for Community Redevelopment Legal Services Grants and is seeking proposals for innovative programs that positively impact the community.
The grants would cover a two year period and will range from $50,000 to $100,000 per year.
The Mission of the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation is to assist in removing barriers to a civil and just society for Alabama families and children by (1) providing financial assistance to worthwhile charitable organizations serving disadvantaged, disabled, and at risk families and children; and by (2) providing information and instruction beneficial to individual consumers and the larger community.
The application process will begin with the submission of a Letter of Inquiry. Following review of the LOIs by the ACJF Grants Committee, invitations to submit full applications will be sent to all organizations with projects deemed to meet ACJF criteria. ACJF expects the LOI and Application stages of review to be highly competitive.
The applying organization must have an IRS 501(c)3 designation and must be a civil legal services organization applying for services to be delivered in the state of Alabama. An organization may apply and be approved for more than one grant. Two or more legal aid organizations may also apply for one grant. They may submit a joint proposal, or each may separately seek a grant. However, if separate applications are submitted for one project, each must be able to stand on its own merits in case the other is not funded.
Applications for collaborative projects with non-legal services organizations are encouraged. The collaborative structure may vary with one or more collaborating organizations receiving funds from the grant; however, all funds will be provided by ACJF to the applying organization. For instance, non-legal services organizations may be considered subgrantees of the applying legal services organization so that expenses for essential non-legal services are included in the ACJF budget. While legal aid expenses will receive the highest priority for ACJF funds, the Foundation is aware of the benefits that can be realized by collaborating with non-legal service organizations in a true partnership.
Definition of Community Redevelopment Legal Services
Proposed projects should support and promote economic development by providing legal services that revitalize or stabilize low–income communities and/or targeted vulnerable community groups. Because there is no settled definition of community redevelopment legal assistance in this context, applicants have some flexibility in defining it. However, ACJF will generally not fund legal services that benefit individuals unless the applicant can tie individual services to broader systemic work that benefits the community as a whole. ACJF expects to receive proposals that are creative with the possibility of far-reaching and lasting impact on the community or targeted community group the applicant serves. The proposal should reflect an understanding of the current needs and challenges within the communities to be served, and knowledge of successful models for meeting those needs. Moreover, success should be defined in a way that can be measured.
The term “community redevelopment legal services” is so broad that below are some possible examples. Proposals may include, but are not limited to the following strategies:
- Policy and impact work.
- Transactional law.
- Community lawyering which actively elicits community involvement when working with government, and private sectors to build strong communities, industries, and markets.
- Targeted, traditional legal services that include community partnerships to increase success at the individual and community levels.
- New models for providing legal services that when expanded should significantly impact community transformation for low-income citizens.
- Counseling advocacy groups.
- Nonprofit legal assistance for organizations serving low-income communities.
- Training or educational services for low-income community members to advocate on behalf of their community.
- Training, educational or technical assistance for providing legal services that meet the criteria of this grant.
- Legal services focused on workforce development and/or removing barriers to employment, housing, or other community development needs.
- Redevelopment legal assistance to cities and counties to ensure that localities and developers meet their obligations to provide adequate relocation assistance and replacement housing for families displaced by redevelopment.
All applicants should anticipate the developing of a plan for this grant to require substantial planning. It is permissible and encouraged for an applicant to discuss any questions concerning their application with ACJF throughout the process, preferably while developing the LOI.
Community Redevelopment Grant Guidelines
Demonstrated Need of the Target Population: ACJF does expect the overall focus of the proposals to be directed toward community needs in which the lack of financial resources or other special needs of its citizens impact their capacity to equitably participate in community life. Services should target Alabama low-income families and communities or groups that face significant barriers to self-sufficiency. The application must articulate the specific needs being addressed by the project and demonstrate that the applicant has a clear understanding of the needs.
Partnerships and Collaboration: ACJF understands the added value of strong partnerships particularly in regard to community redevelopment proposals. ACJF expects most proposals will be collaborations or partnerships with other entities as there will often be multiple layers of barriers (economic, social, educational, and linguistic) to overcome if long-lasting redevelopment is to occur. ACJF will consider the extent to which an applicant already has or plans to develop necessary partnerships, or has demonstrated the ability to partner with community organizations, local government, or other stakeholders to support community redevelopment project goals. Applicants have financial and programmatic flexibility in its partnership with other organizations, but legal assistance must be a key component of the service being delivered.
Organizational Excellence: ACJF is interested in how the proposed project fits within the organization’s structure. ACJF will consider the experience of the applicant in successfully executing other projects; the stability of the organization’s infrastructure; its ability, as necessary, to hire, retrain, and supervise attorneys and other personnel; and to successfully administer the grant, including grant budgeting, reporting and evaluation.
Leverage and Sustainability: Explain if funding by ACJF will help to attract other funding to the project, community or organizations. What possibilities are there for this project being sustained beyond ACJF’s funding and what strategies are being undertaken during the grant period to plan for future sustainability?
Impact: ACJF will be seeking proposals with potential for having a significant impact in Alabama communities. We will be asking the following and other similar questions to determine impact: Is the proposed project replicable or scalable? Will it further the capacity of legal aid services in Alabama in a meaningful way? Does the project have the potential for significantly enhancing civil legal aid services in the state? How will information about the project be shared with other legal aid organizations and community based organizations?
Evaluation: ACJF is interested in funding projects that include a strong evaluation component that includes quantitative and qualitative outcomes. Applications will be expected to include a thorough description of how the project will be evaluated. ACJF will expect the grantee to report on the results and utilize the evaluation information in future planning for the project.
Time for Achieving Goals: Due to the varied nature of community redevelopment work, proposals may be written to span a period of two years. If the proposal is approved, continued support each year will be contingent upon the grantee meeting reporting standards, making reasonable progress, and demonstrating the potential for progress over the remaining years.
For those first-time grantees, the first year of the grant period will span 15 months and the second year will span 12 months.
For current Community Redevelopment grantees, the grant period will span a calendar year each year.
Application Time Period
The first grant period will be from September 2021 – December 2022 (first year = 15 months and the following year 12 months).
Grant Process Time Period
RFP Issued* January 11, 2021
LOI Due Date* February 8, 2021 – may be submitted earlier
Invitations to Apply Issued* February 26, 2021
Application Due Date* March 19, 2021
Grant Announcement May 2021
First Year Grant Period September 2021 to December 2022
Second Year Grant Period January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023
Letter of Inquiry Guidelines
As the first step of the application process, organizations are invited to complete the Letter of Inquiry Form. The Letter of Inquiry and the following attachments are due Monday, February 8, 2021, at 5:00 PM CST through our online grant submission portal.
Please see the link below. Required Attachments:
Selected Pages from Form 990 (Page 1 and Schedule A): Please submit a copy of Page 1 and Schedule A from Form 990; you do not need to send the full document.
Audited Financial Statements: A complete copy of your organization or fiscal sponsor’s most recent audited financial statements. If your organization is not legally required to get an audit, please submit the financials you share with your board in lieu of audited financials.
Board of Directors list: A list of your board of directors, including affiliations.
IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter: A copy of the IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter for your organization or your organization’s fiscal sponsor.
Complete the LOI above and Upload
Access Code: 2021LOI
If this is your first time using ACJF’s grants management system, set up an organizational account.
If you have questions about the online portal, contact firstname.lastname@example.org