Federal Funding Workshop Details

The training curriculum will run from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and include the workshops listed below. Please note that breakfast and lunch will be provided to attendees, and that the workshop list does not reflect the order in which they will be presented

Opening Plenary: Working Together: Supporting Legal Aid’s Role in Federal Grant Programs

Civil Legal Aid advances the objectives of federal programs to serve vulnerable and underserved populations, and participating in these programs supports legal aid’s ability to serve clients holistically. The opening plenary will feature representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Access to Justice (DOJ ATJ) to discuss the work of the Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (LAIR) and from the legal aid community to share concrete examples of efforts to incorporate legal aid into federal programs.

Making It Work: Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF)

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) awarded approximately $300 million to providers through the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) program. Legal aid is an important supportive service to veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Many legal aid providers have partnerships with organizations receiving SSVF funds, and many are pursuing new partnerships.

This workshop features representatives from the VA, legal aid and community partners to discuss how the SSVF program is encouraging partnerships with legal aid and the nuts and bolts of creating and sustaining partnerships with primary grantees.

Major goals of the session include identifying how to get started with an SSVF partner, how to structure a partnership, and how to overcome challenges for an enduring partnership. The session will also include samples of agreements and tools used to provide services through SSVF.

Making It Work: Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Assistance Formula Funding

In 2015, states received three times more funding through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) than the previous year, an estimated $2.36 billion. 2016 funding maintained that level, at $2.25 billion. Recently finalized rules clarify the various types of civil legal services VOCA may fund and expand allowable services beyond the emergency context. These two developments create a unique opportunity for legal aid providers to advocate with their state VOCA administrator to use the additional VOCA funds to begin or expand funding for legal aid.

This workshop will focus on how the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime is emphasizing and supporting resources for holistic legal services for victims of crime, an agency priority emphasized in its “Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report,” perspectives from human services organizations on partnering with legal aid, legal aid’s experience utilizing VOCA funds, and strategies to advocate for new funding.

Major goals of the session include identifying the varied and innovative work legal aid programs are undertaking with VOCA funds and learning how to pursue advocacy efforts on a statewide basis that can influence decisions to increase funding for legal aid.

Medical-Legal Partnership: Legal Aid Advances Health and Stability

Medical-legal partnership (MLP) embeds lawyers and paralegals alongside health care teams to detect, address and prevent health-harming social conditions for people and communities. In 2014, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explicitly clarified that Community Health Centers could utilize HRSA funds to support legal services for their patients, stimulating the growth of the MLP approach in health centers across the country.

 Led by the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership and featuring experts in the MLP approach, this session will discuss critical factors to implementing successful and sustainable medical-legal partnerships and potential sources of funding for medical-legal partnership.

 Major goals of this session include identifying how to position your legal aid office to align with current priorities of the federal health community, and concrete examples of how to overcome challenges to nurturing and sustaining partnerships with HRSA-funded Community Health Centers.

Understanding How Federal Block and Formula Grants to State and Local Governments Support Legal Aid

Federal block and formula grants to state and local governments are a valuable resource for legal aid funding and a great way to locally elevate legal aid's critical role in serving low-income individuals and communities. A growing number of federal programs are being administered through the block and formula grant model, and advocacy through this process often requires a tailored approach and strong partnerships.

 Join representatives from legal aid programs that receive block and formula grants for a discussion about opportunities to secure these funds, and effective strategies for advocating for them.


“For my entire fundraising career, I was told that federal grants were difficult to apply for, difficult to receive funding and just not worth the effort. These sessions taught me not to be afraid. I learned that government agencies are here to help and that the staff is very approachable. For the first time in my career, I am excited about the opportunity to find new partners and apply for federal funding.”

"Thank you!! Session speakers were well informed and supportive, and the materials and topics repeatedly addressed the areas in which the projects I am working on have been encountering problems. I spent 12 hours traveling on a bus to attend the NLADA's Advancing Your Work Through Federal Funding training in Chicago this year. The Supportive Services for Veteran Families session made it time well spent!"

“I would highly recommend this training to executive staff of legal service organizations including grants managers. The information was clear, concise and particularly useful because it was directed toward the audience and because presenters included federal officials who administer the programs.”

“I found the opportunity to talk with others who have programming and other experience in [federal funding] areas I'm currently pursuing to be invaluable.” 

“It was so helpful to connect with other legal services staff and learn their strategies and approaches and to meet with the OVC representative and develop that connection.”