Funders play an important role in establishing, shaping and developing pro bono programs and projects. Not only do funders provide the financial resources that support pro bono projects and programs, they may also influence the quality, substance and growth of a program through thoughtful guidance. The ABA Center for Pro Bono offers a number of resources for funders and their grantees, some of which are highlighted below.
Funders seeking to direct programs to additional sources of funding should visit and refer programs to the Resource Center for Access to Justice which offers an extensive list of potential fundraising initiatives, providing a range of options for action by the bar and legal services providers.
Through terms of its grants as well as monitoring, a funder can encourage pro bono programs to provide quality services to clients, volunteers and the community. The ABA Standards for Programs Providing Civil Pro Bono Legal Services to Persons of Limited Means provide guidance for funders and programs in determining the necessary elements for a quality pro bono program.
Funders may be contacted by grantees who are interested in improving and expanding their operations and services. Through the Peer Consulting Project, the Center for Pro Bono makes available the expertise of experienced volunteer consultants to assist programs in developing and promoting pro bono.
For specific issues regarding pro bono program management, the ABA Center for Pro Bono has a number of web pages on substantive topics for pro bono programs, ranging from recruitment of volunteers to developing specific projects, such as bankruptcy or income tax clinics. Our publications page offers numerous publications that can be downloaded at no cost, on topics ranging from developing pro bono in a law firm to pro bono mediation programs.
Finally, the annual ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference provides an opportunity for funders to discuss equal justice issues with other funders, pro bono and legal services program staff, judges, corporate counsel, court administrators, private lawyers, paralegals, and many others.
Updated March 2020