2024 IOLTA Grants

(Applications now closed)


To:                   Potential applicants for IOLTA grant funds

From:               Barri Bernstein, Executive Director

Date:                August 16, 2023

RE:                   2024 IOLTA Grant Application Process

Application materials for a 2024 IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers’ Trust Accounts) grant are available below. Completed applications must be submitted in hardcopy, by USPS, with a visible postmark dated no later than September 13, 2023.

***Applications are ENCOURAGED from organizations NEW to the IOLTA program (those that have not applied in the past), as well as current and past recipients.***

Information about this year's grant process:

  1. IOLTA awards are made possible from the interest earned on lawyers’ pooled trust checking accounts. As such, the dollar amount available to grant will vary from year to year, based on interest rates and economic conditions. The Foundation is optimistic that the total grant amount for 2024 will increase significantly over the 2023 total. This anticipated increase will be allocated through a combination of new grant awards and an increase in grant award amounts to successful applicants. Keep this in mind when determining the grant amount to request.
  2. Narrative answers to application questions are subject to a character count (which will be governed by the document).
  3. All materials are provided in PDF format, including an editable PDF for each of the four applications.


Issues for Consideration:

Applicants more likely to be DENIED a grant award are those that:

  1. Focus on a community with little use of the service offered, no matter how well organized and well thought out the potential service might be.
  2. Show a poorly structured governing board (few members, numerous members employed in the same industry).
  3. Show lack of variety in revenue sources (IOLTA funds proposed as the sole source of funding, or lack of indication of efforts to secure other support).
  4. Request a grant amount that is drastically out of alignment with IOLTA grant awards to similar organizations and organizations within the same category (see the list of 2022 awards on this site as a guide, while also considering the increase in available funding for this grant cycle).

Applications more likely to RECEIVE a grant award are those that:

  1. Provide a concise, well-written narrative (all applications should be proofread before submission by someone other than the grant writer).
  2. Articulate a history of success in the field of work and a pressing need for the services.
  3. Show IOLTA funds are not the sole source of support.
  4. Meet all the requirements of the format and submission process and any informational requests made by members of the Grant Review Committee.


Four application formats, keyed to the type of services offered by the organization, are available:

An organization must select and download the materials, described below, that most closely fit the services the organization proposes for IOLTA funding support. Grant writers uncertain about the parameters of IOLTA funding or unsure which format to select are urged to call Foundation staff at 800/634.2516 or 615/242.1531. The list of 2023 grantees available on the Tennessee Bar Foundation website also provides specific examples of the types of organizations eligible and most recent grant amounts.

I – Improve the Administration of Justice

Organizations tangential to the legal system which seek to have direct, secondary, or eventual beneficial impact on legal processes (generally do not employ lawyers).
Download PDF

II – Provide Legal Services (LSC–Funded Model)

Organizations partially funded by the Legal Services Corporation which employ staff lawyers to provide free civil legal assistance to the indigent and which coordinate the services of lawyers who provide pro bono service to the indigent.
Download PDF

III – Provide Legal Services (Staff Attorney Model)

Organizations which employ staff lawyers to provide free civil legal assistance to the indigent.
Download PDF

IV – Provide Legal Services (Pro Bono Model)

Organizations which coordinate the services of lawyers who provide pro bono service to the indigent.
Download PDF