The purpose of the IOLA Fund is to ensure effective access to justice and to ensure stable, economical and high quality civil legal services to the poor throughout New York State.
All IOLA grants are awarded pursuant to the Regulations of the Trustees [21 NYCRR Part 7000]. In addition, IOLA requires programmatic and financial reporting from each grantee to assure compliance with the terms and conditions of the grant award. IOLA encourages cooperation among its grantees and provides technical assistance to promote improvements in the delivery of civil legal services for the poor.
To accomplish its mission, the IOLA Fund administers two grant programs:
Awards are made to qualified organizations that provide civil legal services in multiple substantive areas free of charge to low-income persons in a particular geographic service area. The most common categories of cases handled by CLS programs are family, housing, income maintenance, consumer, health and employment. CLS grant awards are for general operating support.
By statute, the Fund allocates no less than 75% of its total annual funding to the CLS grant program and bases those awards on the poverty population according to the latest available figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Awards are made to providers of legal services to underserved groups and other groups with special needs. In addition to legal services, the AOJ awards support training, program innovations, alternative dispute resolution programs, volunteer lawyer programs and technology improvements to enhance service delivery.