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 $55 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.


2023 COLTAF Grant Awards

Legal Services Program Grant

$5.4 million 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 $37,500 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 84 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

$326,600 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 eleventh consecutive year made a grant to COLTAF to supplement the funds available for pro bono grants.

• Alpine Legal Services (serving Pitkin, Garfield & Eagle counties) $20,000
• CLS of Boulder (serving Boulder County) $5,000
• Larimer County Bar Association (serving Larimer County) $18,000
• The Justice Center (serving El Paso and Teller counties) $50,000
• 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)
• Pro Bono Project of Mesa County (serving Mesa County) $20,000
• CLS Pueblo County Pro Bono Project (serving Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Crowley, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Otero, Prowers and Pueblo counties) $30,000
• San Luis Valley Bar Association Pro Bono Project (serving the San Luis Valley) $9,500
• 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) $45,000
• Weld County Legal Services (serving Weld County) $21,000

Discretionary Grants

$65,000 was distributed to the Colorado Access to Justice Commission (ATJC) for general operating expenses to ensure the ATJC’s long-term effectiveness.  The ATJC’s mission is to develop, coordinate, and implement policy initiatives to expand access to and enhance the quality of justice in civil legal matters for persons who encounter barriers in gaining access to Colorado’s civil justice system.


2024 COLTAF Grant Cycle

Applications for a 2024 COLTAF grant are due by June 30, 2024.  Applicants for funding that did not receive a 2023 COLTAF grant must submit a Letter of Intent by March 31, 2024.  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, 2024.  Grant decisions will be communicated by early September 2024.

The required Letter of Intent should be no more than three pages long, and should include the following information:

  1. The name and a brief description of the organization, including mission, year founded, tax-exempt status, staff size, and operating budget.
  2. The amount of the desired grant, how the organization intends to use the grant, and how such use would advance one or more of COLTAF’s purposes.
  3. An explanation of the unmet need that is to be addressed with the requested funding, and the extent to which a grant in the amount requested will have a meaningful impact in addressing that need.
  4. A brief description of the organization’s current programs and/or services, including the type of service provided (e.g., information, brief advice, full representation), how service is provided (e.g. on-line or in person), substantive areas of focus, and geographic focus.
  5. Information demonstrating the applicant’s past history of success and/or its potential for future impact.
  6. A description of how the organization ensures equal access to its services for Coloradans who speak a language other than English, in particular, Spanish.

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 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.