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April 03, 2024

Overview of the NAPABA Cornerstones Grant


In 2023 the AAA-ICDR Foundation awarded a grant to the ABA to help bars across the U.S. strengthen democracy and the rule of law. Seven state, local and affinity bars were selected to receive funding for programming on fostering community dialogue, improving understanding of the rule of law and helping to restore confidence in our democratic processes. 

Lawyers can use the organizational reach and capacity of bars to build bridges among community organizations, to support voting processes and to strengthen pro-democracy narratives. Bar partners were invited to generate projects that engage the public with democratic institutions in a peaceful and respectful way (civility), engage from a standpoint of constitutional knowledge (civics) and act in concert with others, because many voices are more powerful than one (collaboration).

Ongoing projects focus on civic engagement and collaboration, amplifying democracy-strengthening narratives, and building resilience to information manipulation to help address the factors that undermine democracy today: zero-sum politics, adversarial rhetoric, low trust, and high conflict.

The AAA-ICDR Foundation’s grant is helping the ABA achieve its goal of advancing the rule of law by increasing public understanding of and respect for civil liberties and democratic values. With this grant the ABA Cornerstones initiative empowers communities with the knowledge and tools to diffuse conflict and strengthen democracy.

For further information about the programs and the grants, please contact Rachel Ellett, manager of research and analytics, ABA Center for Bar Leadership.

ABA distributes grant money to help promote civics and civility, strengthen the rule of law (


OUTCOME I:  Expand access for marginalized communities to participate in civic and political life through enhancing capacity for public advocacy, public agenda setting, civic knowledge and expansion of voting rights.

OUTCOME II: Enhance collective action of civil society groups by strengthening networks and coalitions for political action on issues of common concern and fostering connection and collaboration across national networks of native affiliate groups on issues related to voting.

OUTCOME III: Amplify democracy-strengthening narratives and behaviors by increasing public and legislators understanding of constitution/separation of powers/rights/law. Preventing conflict through modeling civil discourse and conflict resolution through education and community bridge building. Enhance judicial accountability through stronger public engagement in electoral processes.

OUTCOME IV: Build resilience to information manipulation by providing an accurate understanding of legal/political processes and legislation, accurate and informative data on judicial candidates. And through sharing new insights to help young people understand civic duties, rights and election laws and misinformation.