Program Description

LSC’s Basic Field Grants provide funding for the delivery of high-quality civil legal services to low-income people throughout the U.S. and U.S. territories through full-service grants.

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Overview

We provide Basic Field Grants through a competitive bidding process and award funding for up to three years to eligible legal aid organizations, qualified attorneys, and entities as a means of improving access to justice for low-income people throughout the U.S. and U.S. territories.

We accept applications for
 specified service areas, which typically consist of several counties and cities in a state or an entire state. The list of service areas up for competition changes every year.

We cannot accept applications for portions of the specified service areas. We seek to fund legal aid organizations that provide a full range of legal services throughout each service area, consistent with the LSC Act and appropriations laws.

LSC Service Areas

Service areas are geographic regions determined by LSC.   

Service Areas in Competition

In accordance with LSC’s multi-year funding policy, competitive grant applications for calendar year 2022 funding will be accepted only for specified service areas.

Eligibility Requirements

To apply for a Basic Field Grant, you must be a

  • current recipient
  • nonprofit organization that has, as a purpose, the provision of legal help to eligible clients
  • private attorney or group of attorneys or law firms (either as a non-incorporated body or as a nonprofit)
  • state or local government
  • sub-state regional planning or coordination agency that is composed of sub-state areas whose governing boards are controlled by locally elected officials

We cannot accept applications that plan to provide less than the full range of legal aid to eligible clients in a service area unless you demonstrate that you will be part of a delivery system that provides a full range of legal aid in the service area. Your grant application, in its totality, must meet this threshold requirement to be considered qualified. The major categories of cases typically undertaken on behalf of low-income clients include:

  • Consumer/Finance
  • Family
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Income Maintenance
  • Employment
  • Health

We Evaluate Applicants Based On:

  • LSC Act
  • Laws, Regulations, and Guidance
  • LSC Performance Criteria
  • ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid

Congress enacted the LSC Act in 1974 to establish the Legal Services Corporation. The official version appears in the United States Code with annotations and historical notes. 

Federal laws and regulations govern LSC's distribution of government funds and its grantees' use of LSC grant funds. 

LSC's Performance Criteria incorporate LSC's grant oversight experience with the ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid. 

ABA Standards provide guidance on effective legal aid work. 

Reporting, Compliance Requirements & Applicable Law 

All grants and grant recipients are subject to all the requirements of the Legal Services Corporation Act of 1974, as amended, and any applicable appropriations acts, laws, rules, regulations, policies, guidelines, instructions, and other directives. These provisions contain restrictions on the activities of those who receive our funds and may affect the eligibility of potential applicants. If you are awarded the Basic Field Grant, you will be required to comply with all requirements contained therein.

Grant Terms and Conditions

Each Basic Field Grant is subject to specific grant terms and conditions for that grant year.

Grantee Guidance

Learn more about reporting and compliance requirements as well as applicable law.

Learn More About Basic Field Grants

  • How to Apply
  • Submission Deadlines
  • Grant Awards

Each year, we accept Basic Field Grant applications for specified service areas in competition.

Review the key dates and activities for Calendar Year 2021.

In 2020, we awarded 132 legal aid organizations more than $425 million to improve access to justice for low-income communities for FY2021.

Can’t find what you are looking for?

Should you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to LSC Grants.

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