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

SAN DIEGO (February 10, 2021) – 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 $411,700 to 29 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 to 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.

The Foundation’s mission has assumed an even greater significance this year, as the San Diego County region continues to reel from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now more than ever, it’s critical to give back to and invest in our most at-risk communities,” Foundation President Alreen Haeggquist said. “At the San Diego County Bar Foundation, we take our role and responsibility incredibly seriously; we know that the funds we allocate in the community can and do have a specific, measurable impact on people’s lives. We are grateful for the continuing contributions to our Foundation from members of the legal community, and we look forward to learning more about the good work our grantees will surely do in the coming year.”

Recipients of the Indigent Criminal Defense Fund grants, which totaled $250,000, are:

  • California Veterans Legal Task Force (to provide criminal defense attorneys for veterans);
  • 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);
  • St. Vincent de Paul Village (to back 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 information about the court process that defendants and family members may have).

The Foundation also awarded general grants totaling $161, 700 to 23 community benefit organizations. These include:

  • American Bar Association Fund for Justice (for securing legal representation for indigent immigrants in detention);
  • California Rural Legal Assistance (to provide direct legal services to protect clients’ rights in areas including labor and employment, housing, and health and safety;
  • 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 legal services to immigrant victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other serious crimes);
  • Catholic Charities Diocese SD (to expand its pro bono capacity for representing individuals who are seeking protection against them in their country of origin);
  • Center for Community Solutions (to support no-cost pro se legal assistance, legal advocacy and direct representation for restraining orders);
  • Community Advocates for Just and Moral Governance (to will provide two programs for a community-based project);
  • 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);
  • Immigrant Defenders Law Center (to provide full-scale deportation defense to asylum seeking families seeking reunification with relatives);
  • 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);
  • Pga-Asa Law Clinic (to promote and foster legal access and engagement with the AAPI 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);
  • SD Victim Offenders Reconciliation Project (to provide a mediation pilot program to all participants in domestic violence disputes);
  • 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);  
  • USD Women’s Law Clinic (to conduct workshops for the residents of domestic violence shelters and transitional housing programs and for survivors of human trafficking to provide access to legal services that victims of domestic violence and human trafficking); 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).

For more information about the San Diego County Bar Foundation, or to make a donation, visit

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