COLTAF was established in 1982 by the Colorado Supreme Court, in response to dramatic cuts in federal funding for civil legal aid. Since then, COLTAF has used the interest earned on COLTAF accounts to make grants of over $40 million dollars.
Approximately 80 percent of these funds have gone to Colorado’s federally-funded legal aid programs. The other 20 percent is distributed through COLTAF’s Pro Bono and Discretionary Grant Programs to advance one or more of the following purposes:
- Assist in providing legal services to the disadvantaged;
- Improve the delivery of legal services;
- Promote knowledge and awareness of the law in the community; and/or
- Improve the administration of justice.
COLTAF’s only regular source of revenue is the interest earned on COLTAF accounts, thus the funds available for grants vary, sometimes dramatically, from year to year. For that reason, COLTAF’s Discretionary Grant Program is suspended from time to time, in order to preserve resources for COLTAF’s core grantees.
Click here for information about COLTAF’s Pro Bono Grant Criteria.
Click here for information about COLTAF’s Discretionary Grant Criteria.
2020 COLTAF Grant Awards
Legal Services Program Grant
$2,000,000 was distributed to Colorado Legal Services (CLS), Colorado’s statewide staffed legal aid program. CLS provides services with few exceptions to those living at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, which is currently $32,750 for a family of four. CLS operates as a legal emergency room, giving priority to the poor and elderly in greatest social and economic need, and focusing on legal issues that have an impact on basic needs, including at least minimally-adequate income, food, shelter, utilities, necessary medical care, and freedom from domestic violence and abuse. CLS currently has 65 lawyers statewide to serve over 700,000 income-eligible Coloradans. By comparison, there are 535 public defenders statewide to serve the indigent in serious criminal matters.
Administrative and Legislative Advocacy Grant
$100,000 was distributed to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP), which engages in multi-forum advocacy for the benefit of low-income Coloradans. CCLP conducts research and independent legal and policy analysis, working to foster greater economic security for low-income individuals and families and to increase access to affordable, quality health care.
Pro Bono Program Grants
$185,600 was distributed to pro bono programs around the state, to support their work in developing and mobilizing pro bono resources to help meet the civil legal needs of low-income Coloradans. This total includes funds from the Colorado Bar Foundation, which for the seventh consecutive year made a grant to COLTAF to supplement the funds available for pro bono grants.
|• Alpine Legal Services (serving Pitkin, Garfield & Eagle counties)||$15,000|
|• Boulder County Legal Services (serving Boulder County)||$5,000|
|• Larimer County Bar Association (serving Larimer County)||$12,500|
|• Pro Bono Project of Mesa County (serving Mesa County)||$7,500|
|• Metro Volunteer Lawyers (serving Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver,
Douglas, Elbert & Jefferson counties)
|• NW Colorado Legal Services (serving Clear Creek, Eagle, Grand, Gunnison,
Jackson, Lake, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, Summit, Pitkin & Garfield counties)
|• Pikes Peak Justice & Pro Bono Center (serving El Paso & Teller counties)||$16,000|
|• Pueblo County Pro Bono Project (serving Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Crowley, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Otero, Prowers and Pueblo counties)||$17,000|
|• San Luis Valley Bar Association Pro Bono Project (serving the San Luis Valley)||$9,500|
|• Southwest Volunteer Attorney Program (serving Archuleta, La Plata & San Juan counties and Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Reservations)||$8,100|
|• Uncompahgre Volunteer Legal Aid (serving Montrose, Ouray & San Miguel counties)||$30,000|
|• Weld County Legal Services (serving Weld County)||$15,000|
COLTAF also made several grants from restricted Bank of America settlement funds to legal aid organizations to be used for foreclosure prevention legal assistance or community redevelopment legal assistance.
2021 COLTAF Grant Cycle
Applications for a 2021 COLTAF grant are due by June 30, 2021. Applicants for funding that did not receive a 2020 COLTAF grant must submit a Letter of Intent by March 31, 2021. COLTAF will decide, in light of the funds available and relevant grant criteria, whether a full grant application will be requested, and decisions in that regard will be communicated by May 1, 2021. Grant decisions will be communicated by early September 2021.
The required Letter of Intent should be no more than three pages long, and should include the following information:
- The name of the organization, the type of grant requested (pro bono or discretionary), the amount requested, how the organization intends to use the funding, and how the undertaking advances one or more of COLTAF’s purposes.
- A brief history of the organization (mission, year founded, tax-exempt status, staff size), and an overview of the organization’s current programs and services (numbers served, geographic focus, target and beneficiary populations).
- An explanation of the need that can be met by the organization with the requested funding, and how the organization intends to meet that need.
- A summary estimate of the expected costs of the project (personnel and non-personnel), a general timeline as to the period over which grant funds would be expended, and information about any other funding the organization has secured to support the project.
If a full grant application is requested, applicants should complete and submit the Colorado Common Grant Application, which can be found here.
A Letter of Intent and, if requested, a completed Colorado Common Grant Application may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via regular mail to 1120 Lincoln Street, Suite 701, Denver, CO 80203.
Submission of a Letter of Intent does not assure or guarantee that COLTAF will accept a full grant application, and a request for a full Grant Application does not assure or guarantee funding.