College Columns May 2015 Issue - Page 11

attorney volunteers, including ourselves. So we can give three times- by our contributions to the Foundation, by administration of the College’s grant program, and by our personal volunteer services. We are confident that the College is the largest funder of bankruptcy pro bono in the country and have been for some time. In 2014 we awarded grants to 36 programs in 21 states, totaling $328,294.04.

The Pro Bono Committee, which administers the grant program and selects the grantees, has adopted guidelines which can be accessed on the website at Most programs deliver services by assigning a volunteer to represent a debtor, who has been screened for financial need and other eligibility criteria, by filing a chapter 7 case. Others provide brief advice, assistance with letter writing to creditors, representation at reaffirmation hearings or representation in dischargeability cases and other adversary proceedings. Some run clinics in law schools and some engage in community education programs, including financial literacy. Some use the money for training programs for the volunteers. The main requirements of our grants are that the services be delivered by volunteer attorneys (including ourselves) in an efficient and effective way.

Although there are many grantees in many states, the Committee still seeks new grantees and an expanded geographical reach. There are many states not yet represented among the grantees.

As noted in the title, the deadline to apply for a 2015 grant is July 1. Click here to download

and share a pro bono grant application from the Foundation website.

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Here is what you can do:

1. Contribute generously to the Foundation.

2. Encourage the development of new bankruptcy pro bono programs in your local area.

3. Encourage the local programs in your area to apply for a grant.

4. Help us find additional sources of funding. Perhaps there are foundations you know of who would like to partner with us to distribute their funds to thoroughly vetted pro bono programs.

5. Encourage chapter 11 lawyers to provide for the distribution of unclaimed funds under chapter 11 plans to the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation and to your local programs. Better yet, build that idea into a local rule such as that adopted by the Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Florida, which can be accessed at

2015 Pro Bono Grant Application

Deadline Approaches (July 1)

James L. Baillie, Chair,

Pro Bono Committee

The ACB Foundation, with money provided by the College and by the Foundation, provides grants of up to $10,000 each to local pro bono programs to help them provide bankruptcy pro bono services using bankruptcy