LTF Grants & Grant Guidelines

The Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois (LTF) makes grants to non-profit organizations that provide free civil legal aid to low-income Illinois residents.

LTF grantees provide a “legal safety net” for people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer, but face serious problems related to issues such as domestic violence, child custody, eviction, foreclosure, elder abuse, access to medical care, immigration, and other critical needs.

LTF is among the largest single sources of funding for the legal aid system in Illinois. LTF grants currently support 49 legal aid organizations across the state. Last year, these organizations utilized hundreds of staff attorneys and paralegals and thousands of pro bono to close nearly 118,000 legal cases on behalf of low-income Illinoisans.

Grant Guidelines

LTF’s Grant Guidelines and Instructions for CY 2025 explain LTF’s grant priorities, eligibility criteria, and factors in awarding grants.

To be eligible for a grant from LTF, an organization must:

  • Be an Illinois-based non-profit organization with tax-exempt status under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Serve Illinois residents who cannot afford to hire private legal counsel, which is generally defined as having incomes below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines.
  • Provide services without charge to the client. [Note: This does not mean applicants cannot charge sliding-scale fees to clients with incomes above 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, nor does it mean that grantees cannot require clients to pay court costs or related expenses that cannot be waived. However, LTF funds can only be used to support free services.]
  • Employ at least one (1) paid, full-time equivalent staff attorney who has been licensed to practice law for at least three years at the time the application is due. (This requirement may be waived under certain circumstances; please read the full grant guidelines for more details.)

Applying for a grant

LTF awards grants on a calendar year basis. Grant applications for 2025 are now available. For information about applying for a grant, visit the How to Apply page. For more information contact Deputy Executive Director for Grants & Legal Affairs David Holtermann at 312-938-3076 or via email.

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