Guidelines for Grant Applications to the
Louisville Bar Foundation


The Louisville Bar Foundation was established in 1981 as the charitable giving arm of the Louisville Bar Association. Its mission is to raise and distribute funds for the delivery of legal services to the poor and indigent; for law-related public education; and for improvement of the judiciary, the legal profession, and citizen access to the justice system.  The LBF has distributed more than $2.9 million in grants to local organizations, and the endowment has increased to $3 million. The Foundation is supported by contributions from attorneys, law firms and corporations. 

The LBF invests in innovative projects and initiatives through its grants process and helps to meet immediate legal needs in our community while also strengthening the pro bono and legal aid system and making longer-term systemic improvements in access to justice. Grants are awarded through a comprehensive screening and evaluation process that is overseen by our board of lawyers and judges. Organizations considering applying for a grant from the LBF are encouraged to first review the following eligibility requirements and funding priorities. 

Applicants with questions about eligibility requirements, funding priorities, or the grant application process are encouraged to contact Jeffrey A. Been, Executive Director, Louisville Bar Foundation, at or (502) 292-6734.


Funding Priorities

The Louisville Bar Foundation accepts grant applications for projects that fulfill one or more of the following objectives:

  • Projects that improve access to the legal system by persons of limited financial means, and if possible, produce a tangible product that can be distributed to the public;
  • Projects that promote better access to legal information and improved perception of the justice system by minorities;
  • Projects that improve the operation of, and public confidence in, the Jefferson County courts;
  • Projects that provide public education about our legal system and promote a positive image of the legal profession. 

Funding Cycle

Grant applicants must use the LBF Grant Application Form. Applications are accepted at any time, however the LBF Board makes funding decisions on a semi-annual basis. The following deadlines have been established for 2024:

Applications must be received by: For consideration by the Board in:
April 12, 2024 June 2024
October 11, 2024 December 2024


Eligible Applicants

Grant applications are accepted from organizations that are recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or similar exempt organizations. Grants will not be made to individuals. Non-profit organizations must be in good standing with the Secretary of State’s office.

Ineligible Proposals

Absent extraordinary circumstances, the LBF does not fund grant requests for capital construction projects or endowment campaigns, nor does it purchase tickets or sponsorships for charitable dinners, golf tournaments or other special events, regardless of the nature or work of the requesting organization. No funds provided by the LBF may be used for the support of any political campaign, election activity, or other political activities that are inconsistent with the organization’s tax-exempt status.

Grant requests for otherwise qualified multi-year projects or for staff positions will be considered, but the applicant must provide specific, detailed information about plans to secure future funding for the project or position. Multi-year funding from the LBF is rare, and is restricted to several pre-selected organizations which have a long-standing relationship with the Foundation. Successive annual requests for funding by an organization may be viewed by the LBF as a multi-year request.

Grants requests for programs operated by faith-based or religious organizations will be considered for funding if the specific program run by the faith-based or religious organization is open to people of all faiths, service decisions are not based on a particular client’s faith or religion, the organization’s staff do not promote a particular faith or religion to people served, and the organization’s policies and practices do not discriminate against legally protected classes of individuals.

In accordance with the LBF’s mission to ensure equal access to justice, and in accordance with federal, state and local laws, the LBF will not fund organizations or programs that use race, color, creed, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, national origin, veteran status, or any other protected classification as a basis to deny services to qualifying individuals who seek assistance that falls within the scope of the organization’s mission.

Endorsement of Grant Application

All grant applications must be "sponsored" by an attorney who is a current member of the Louisville Bar Association. The sponsoring attorney must agree to be an active volunteer participant in the proposed project. A letter of endorsement from the sponsoring attorney must accompany the application. The LBF gives preference to projects with significant volunteer involvement by attorneys.

Grant Amounts

The LBF will distribute approximately $150,000 in grants during the 2024 calendar year. The typical grant has been in the $2,500 to $12,000 range in recent years.

Application Review and Notification Process

If an application meets the minimum requirements established by the LBF, the application will be reviewed by the Grants Committee. Applicants may be contacted for an interview and possibly a site visit. Based upon Committee review, a recommendation regarding funding will be made to the Board. The Board must approve all grant awards.

The LBF will acknowledge, in writing, the receipt of each grant application. Notification of awards will also be made in writing.

Grant Award Agreement and Report on Use of Funds

Organizations whose grant proposals are approved for funding by the LBF will be required to sign a Grant Agreement prior to the disbursement of the grant funds. For a copy of a Grant Agreement, click HERE. Grant funds are typically released to the organization within thirty days of receipt of a signed grant agreement.

Organizations that are recipients of LBF grants are required to provide a report at the close of the grant year on the status of the project, the use of grant funds, and the accomplishments toward the objectives of the funded project. For a copy of the Grant Report, click HERE.

General Conditions

All materials submitted to the LBF become the property of the LBF and will not be returned.  Information contained in a grant application submitted to the LBF may be shared with third parties and outside organizations as part of the LBF’s screening and evaluation process. The LBF reserves the right to reject any and all applications, in whole or in part, in its sole discretion. The LBF receives substantially more requests than it can fund, and thus there is no guarantee that any particular organization will receive funding or any particular level of funding.

Grant Application Form

Grant proposals to the LBF are to be submitted using the LBF’s Grant Application Form. For a copy of the Grant Application Form, click HERE