The Maine Justice Foundation has announced the recipients of the Hancock/Washington County Legal Aid ESO Fund 2023 Grants.

Following an application process, the Maine Justice Foundation Grants, Programs & Policy Committee reviewed all qualified applications and made funding recommendations to the Board of Directors this September that were unanimously approved, according to a news release from the Augusta-based foundation.

The 2023 grantees are the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, and Legal Services for the Elderly. The programs funded by the 2023 grants ensure access for vulnerable Mainers by supporting a variety of civil legal services including family law, employment law, small claims court, elder abuse, eviction defense, protection from abuse matters and immigrant legal services.

Elizabeth Stout, executive director of the Volunteer Lawyers Project said, “VLP is very grateful for the ESO grant, supporting our work in Washington and Hancock counties. We plan to continue and expand access to legal services in this area for people facing critical civil legal problems, like probate issues, domestic violence problems, bankruptcy and more, who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. This grant makes it possible for us to promote equal access to our legal system to all who need it in these Downeast counties.”

The ESO Endowment Fund was established in 2011 by an anonymous donor who dedicated it to providing support for people in need of civil legal assistance in Washington and Hancock counties. The ESO grant supports applicants and programs dedicated to the provision of legal aid in Maine, offer legal services not currently available in these counties, and who are collaboratively addressing unmet needs of underserved populations.

“We are so pleased to offer grants from this endowment that are specifically directed to rural areas of Maine where there are so many people in significant need of civil legal assistance with so few resources available. The generous benefactor of the ESO Endowment has created an ongoing legacy of helping vulnerable Mainers get the legal assistance they need to overcome times of crisis,” said Michelle Draeger, executive director of the Maine Justice Foundation.

 

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