Media Contact:
Marcel Bourdase for San Diego County Bar Foundation
(619) 573-7224 /

SAN DIEGO (January 5, 2022) – In a testament to its ongoing mission to increase access to justice across San Diego County, the San Diego County Bar Foundation announced today that it has awarded $393,500 to 26 local nonprofit organizations.

The latest grants reflect the Foundation’s most recent infusion of resources into some of San Diego County’s most underserved populations and underscores the Foundation’s decades-long dedication to providing legal services, public awareness education and improvements to the region’s justice and court system. Since the Foundation began its grants program in 1979, it has distributed in excess of $4 million towards more than 50 legal aid and public interest organizations through grants made possible by contributions from San Diego’s legal and business communities and in partnership with the San Diego County Bar Association.

Generally, awards from the Foundation’s General Grant and Indigent Criminal Defense Funds focus on assisting people and communities throughout North County, Central/Downtown San Diego and East County. Grants assist organizations that serve immigrants and asylum seekers, low-income communities, survivors of domestic violence, people with disabilities, veterans, the homeless, low-income seniors and at-risk youth.
“With the generous and continued contributions from members of the San Diego legal and business community, the San Diego County Bar Foundation has been able to allocate funds back into its own area, providing critical access to justice for those in need” Foundation President Pat Swan remarked. “By investing in our own at-risk communities, we are able to create positive change for future generations to come.”

Recipients of the Indigent Criminal Defense Fund grants, which totaled $235,000, are:

  • Center for Employment Homeless Court (to support legal services for indigent participants);
  • National Conflict Resolution Center (to aid and expand the restorative justice project for juveniles);
  • Reading Legacies (to strengthen relationships between family members separated by incarceration or drug rehabilitation treatment);
  • St. Vincent de Paul Village (to support representatives who prepare homeless clients for court);
  • Think Dignity (for the Homeless Youth Legal Advocacy Project, which assists young people with a variety of criminal legal issues);
  • Uprise Theatre Equal Access to Justice (to provide answers to questions about the criminal court process that defendants and family members may have).

The Foundation also awarded general grants totaling $158,500 to 21 community benefit organizations. These are:

  • American Bar Association Fund for Justice (for securing legal representation for indigent immigrants in detention);
  • Cal-Western Community Law Project (for consultation and community legal education. Attorneys and volunteer law students provide personalized advice to low-income San Diegans);
  • Casa Cornelia (for Victims of Crime. Provide legal services to immigrant victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other serious crimes);
  • Center for Community Solutions (to support no-cost pro se legal assistance, legal advocacy and direct representation for restraining orders);
  • Community Resource Center (to provide legal assistance to 40 domestic violence survivors annually);
  • Elder Law & Advocacy (to provide legal advice to low-income seniors throughout San Diego County);
  • Free to Thrive (to support and expand the capacity of its existing Family Justice Program);
  • Interfaith Community Services (to provide professional and financial assistance for unauthorized immigrants to navigate the immigration system);
  • Jewish Family Service of San Diego (for the San Diego Rapid Response Network, which educates, protects and assists immigrant individuals and families, including refugees and asylum seekers, with legal support and social services);
  • La Maestra Family Clinics, Inc. (to improve access to legal services and advocate for low-income vulnerable populations);
  • Legal Aid Society of San Diego (to continue the full operation of the San Diego County Conservatorship Assistance Program, which fields calls and answers questions from participants outside of clinic, engages in extensive outreach to community groups, and works with the Regional Center in San Diego County);
  • License to Freedom (to provide connections to legal representation and education to the refugee immigrant community about sexual assault);
  • Pag-Asa Law Clinic (to promote and foster legal access and engagement with the Asian American Pacific Islander community);
  • SD Advocates for Social Justice (to provide high quality legal representation to tenants, groups of tenants and organizations advocating on tenants’ behalf, in individual and impact advocacy and cases, to enforce and expand tenants’ rights);
  • San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program (to continue operating the Vision for Justice Collaborative, providing representation to low-income immigrant and refugee crime victims who need civil legal assistance);
  • Southern California Immigration Project (for pro bono legal services to asylum seekers in San Diego County);
  • Survivors of Torture International (to provide attorney-requested evidentiary psychological evaluations for asylum cases for adults and children);
  • US Committee for Refugees & Immigrants (to support legal services program which offers a wide range of pro bono and low-bono services to immigrants and refugees, with a focus on meeting the needs of unaccompanied children);
  • University of San Diego – Legal Advocacy (to promote and protect the legal rights of San Diego County’s current and former foster youth with regard to common financial pitfalls);
  • Uprise Theatre (to teach legal principles to participants and have them re-teach these principles to their community through a theatrical performance); and
  • Voices for Children (to support volunteers advocating on behalf of youth who have committed minor, nonviolent offenses and are involved, or at risk of involvement, in the juvenile justice system).


About San Diego County Bar Foundation

The San Diego County Bar Foundation is the charitable arm of the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA). Through this partnership with the San Diego County legal community, the Foundation aims to benefit underprivileged communities in the region, by providing them with access to support, funding and public service programs with legal services. The Foundation’s beneficiaries include more than 50 legal aid and public interest organizations. For more information, visit