December 3, 2020 - Stanardsville, VA -
The American College of Bankruptcy and the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation announced today that they have awarded 34 pro bono grants, totaling $354,900, to legal services organizations located in 18 states, plus the District of Columbia. As part of their missions, the College and the Foundation, through the Foundation's Pro Bono Committee, award grants to organizations providing assistance to individuals and groups in need of bankruptcy-related legal representation, training and/or education. Since 2012, the College and Foundation have awarded nearly $4 million in grants to these worthy programs.

The College and the Foundation awarded grants to the following organizations this year:

Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A
Brooklyn, NY
California Western School of Law Community Law Project       
San Diego, CA
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago
Chicago, IL
Seattle, WA
Conejo Free Clinic 
Thousand Oaks, CA
Dade Legal Aid - Put Something Back    
Miami, FL
DC Bar Pro Bono Center   
Washington, DC
Financial Protection Law Center  
Wilmington, NC
Inner Banks Legal Services Inc    
Washington, NC
Legal Access Alameda      
Oakland, CA
Legal Aid Association of California          
Oakland, CA
Legal Aid Chicago  
Chicago, IL
Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati  
Cincinnati, OH
Legal Aid Society of San Diego    
San Diego, CA
Legal Aid Society, Inc.       
Louisville, KY
Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc.     
Geneva, NY
Legal Services of Eastern Michigan        
Flint, MI
Legal Services of North Dakota    
Bismarck, ND
Legal Services Vermont    
Burlington, VT
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service      
Baltimore, MD
Mid-Shore Pro Bono          
Easton, MD
Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County
Glendale, CA
Northwest Consumer Law Center
Seattle, WA
Pro Bono Indiana    
Evansville, IN
Public Counsel        
Los Angeles, CA
Public Law Center  
Santa Ana, CA
Public Service Law Corporation   
Riverside, CA
QLaw Foundation of Washington
Seattle, WA
South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program - Alabama BAP
Montgomery, AL
The Pro Bono Project         
New Orleans, LA
Voluntary Legal Services Program of Northern California      
Sacramento, CA
Volunteer Lawyers for Justice      
Newark, NJ
Volunteer Lawyers Network          
Minneapolis, MN
Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association
Boston, MA

The Foundation has awarded its Michael L. Cook Extraordinary Grant to QLaw Foundation of Washington, an organization which serves LGBTQ+ and other communities throughout the state of Washington. The Foundation selected the QLaw Foundation's grant for special recognition because the grant focuses on the particular needs of an underserved population, the LGBTQ+ community. As the QLaw Foundation stated "Because of discrimination, LGBTQ+ communities experience higher rates of poverty, un- and underemployment, poor rental histories/evictions, and have difficulty managing medical debt (particularly debt related to gender transition), student loans, and other consumer issues. Additionally, transgender and nonbinary people in particular face significant financial issues when they undergo a legal name and gender marker change. In some cases it can cause credit histories to evaporate, credit ratings to change, and student loan payments to be delayed or unrecorded."
The Foundation's grant will fund programs of the QLaw Foundation intended to prepare materials to educate transgender and nonbinary communities on protecting their finances and credit, to conduct CLE programs to educate volunteer attorneys on LGBTQ-specific bankruptcy, consumer and debt issues, and to increase the awareness and use of QLaw's legal clinics by LGBTQ+ individuals needing help with consumer and financial issues.
The Michael L. Cook Extraordinary Grant was created in Mr. Cook's honor in 2016. It is awarded to a legal services organization that offers an innovative and exemplary approach to a previously under-served area of need. A Fellow since 1997, Michael Cook served as Chair and President of the College and Chair of its Board of Regents from 2010-2016, and as Chair of the Pro Bono Committee from 2008-2010.
At the most recent meeting of the College Board of Directors, Mark Bloom, Chair of the Board, expressed his thanks to the leadership of the Foundation and the Pro Bono Committee, and his appreciation to the members of the Committee for having reviewed and analyzed countless grant applications and selected such worthy recipients. He also praised the Fellows of the College for their generous donations, saying it was heartwarming that Fellows continually help fund public service organizations that are doing such important work for those in need.
The American College of Bankruptcy is an honorary association of bankruptcy and insolvency professionals. The Fellows of the College are selected for membership based on a proven record of the highest standards of professionalism and service to the profession, and include commercial and consumer bankruptcy attorneys, bankruptcy and other federal judges, bankruptcy trustees, United States Trustees and other federal officials, law school professors, and others involved in the bankruptcy and insolvency profession. The College offers unique and challenging educational programs and publications, maintains the National Bankruptcy Archives at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, and is believed to be the single largest financial supporter of pro bono bankruptcy services in the United States. There are approximately 900 Fellows of the College. The American College of Bankruptcy Foundation is a Section 501(c)(3) charitable organization, supported by the College and by tax-deductible contributions from Fellows of the College and others. For additional information about the College and the Foundation please contact Shari Bedker, Executive Director, at  [email protected] or 434-939-6004.