Boston Bar Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Boston Bar Foundation is the charitable arm of the Boston Bar Association and awards grants to nonprofit organizations that provide legal serves to vulnerable people in Greater Boston.

FUNDING AREAS: Justice, legal services, community, diversity, inclusion

IP TAKE: This funder focuses on legal aid grants in Boston but has other interests too. Low-income and vulnerable Boston residents come into focus for BBF on issues of homelessness, domestic violence, and immigration.

PROFILE: Established in 1957, the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) is the charitable affiliate of the Boston Bar Association. The Association traces its beginnings to John Adams, who provided pro bono representation to British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre. It aims is “to promote justice by funding and promoting innovation in legal services, enhancing access to justice for the underserved and supporting the public interest activities of the bar.” Grantmaking interests are justice, legal services, community, diversity, and inclusion.

BBF annually funds organizations that provide legal services and opportunities for justice to the people who need it most. BBF also supports the pro bono and public service projects of the bar and lawyer projects that help strengthen neighborhoods and improve lives. BBF has also funded children's access to equal education and life opportunities, counseling and advice to homeless and at-risk veterans, families facing eviction to inform of legal rights and fight displacement, summer jobs for Boston teens, and financial literacy for high school students. Through its Expanding Access to Justice grantmaking program, BBF supports legal services programs in areas like immigration, domestic violence, and homelessness. It also pursues this goal with its Lawyer for a Day in the Boston Housing Court program, which has given relief to people facing the threat of homelessness in Boston. Past grantees include Casa Myrna Vazquez, Greater Boston Legal Services, Housing Families, and the Irish International Immigrant Center.

In a recent grant cycle, BBF awarded $1 million in grants across approximately 21 community organizations. Learn more about past giving in the funder’s news section of its website. The sole geographic focus of this funder is Boston.

The foundation typically funds pre-selected organizations rather than unsolicited applications. A grant committee reviews applications in an annual grant cycle each year. Direct general questions about BBF funding to the staff at 617-742-0615 or via email at


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