Applications Open for 2021 Barbara McDowell Foundation Grants

The Barbara McDowell Foundation encourages interested nonprofit organization to apply for a 2021 social justice litigation grant. The Foundation expects to allocate $150,000 to $250,000 between five organizations for its 2021 grants. 

The Barbara McDowell Foundation aims to improve the economic well-being, social conditions, and civil liberties of disadvantaged persons and groups in the United States. We fulfill our mission by making annual grants to organizations that undertake systemic, social justice litigation focusing on a variety of causes. 

Our issue areas include:

• Access to Benefits • Children’s Rights • Disability Rights • Discrimination • Domestic Violence • Homelessness • Housing • Native American Rights • Prisoners' Rights • Refugee and Immigration Rights • Voting Rights • Veterans’ Rights

The Foundation is accepting applications June 1st through August 1st, 2020, for grants to be awarded for the following fiscal year of the Foundation which is October 1st, 2020, to September 30th, 2021. 

A review of successful past grant awards and the Foundation’s Mission Statement provides insight as to the matters that interest the Foundation. Generally, the Foundation funds litigation matters that are consistent with our namesake Barbara McDowell’s past legal efforts and her beliefs regarding social justice.

The Foundation seeks to award grants for social justice litigation meeting the following criteria:

•    Cases which will significantly improve the well-being, social conditions, and/or civil liberties of a large number of disadvantaged persons and groups throughout the United States. 

•    Systemic cases which will significantly impact a specific area of the law or legal issue through the establishment of a legal precedent. 

•    Cases falling within the Foundation’s focused Issue Areas, as outlined above.

•    The grant application must be for a specific case. Grants will be awarded for a currently active case or a case which will be filed within 60 days of the date the grant application is submitted.

•    The Foundation does not support cases where the relief sought is for an individual except if it would involve an important legal precedent addressing a systemic issue. 

•    The Foundation does not support criminal cases where an individual is charged with a crime. 

•    The Foundation will not award a grant where an organization is seeking general support for its mission. 

•    Successful grant applicants can be considered for grants in subsequent years based upon the results of the grantee’s efforts in the prior year.

We recommend that you review the Foundation's website for a comprehensive overview of the application process and the work of our former grantees. We recommend interested organizations apply via our easy-to-use online grant application. 

The exact amount of the grants will depend upon several factors, including the amount of the Foundation's capital at the end of the current grant cycle and the importance of the proposed pieces of litigation.

For questions or further information, please contact either Jerry Hartman, Foundation President, 703-919 0423, or Aaron Stiner, Executive Administrator, 602-349-7603,