Expanding access to civil legal services in Wisconsin.

WisTAF

OUR MISSION

The Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation Inc. (WisTAF) is dedicated to equal access to the civil justice system, funding legal services for low-income persons through the fair and effective administration of Interest On Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA), Public Interest Legal Services Fund (PILSF), and other sources.

Grants

The Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, Inc. (WisTAF) is the largest funding source for civil legal aid programs in Wisconsin. Established by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1986, WisTAF helps ensure that low-income people with non-criminal legal problems have access to the legal advice and representation they need.

Sources of Grants
Currently, grants are funded via two main sources: the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program and the Public Interest Legal Services Fund (PILSF) program. The IOLTA and PILSF programs were established by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to make Wisconsin’s justice system accessible to all, regardless of income. The IOLTA program is supported by participating financial institutions across the state, while all practicing Wisconsin attorneys and judicial members support the PILSF program.

For the first time in history, the Wisconsin legislature included $1,958,600 for low-income civil legal services, to be administered by WisTAF, in its 2007-2009 budget. This amount was increased to $2,546,100 million annually in its 2009-2011 budget in an attempt to help fill the void in state funding for civil legal services. Unfortunately, the Governor's 2011-2013 budget eliminated this essential funding source for the time being.

More information on WisTAF management processes and grantee service and financial outcomes related to the state appropriation:

        2008-2009 Low-Income Civil Legal Services Appropriation

        2009-2010 Low-Income Civil Legal Services Appropriation

WisTAF Mission and Grantmaking Philosophy
The Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, Inc. (WisTAF) is dedicated to equal access to the civil justice system, funding legal services for low-income persons through the fair and effective administration of Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA), Public Interest Legal Services Fund (PILSF) and other sources.

In furtherance of this mission, the WisTAF Board of Directors annually awards grants to a broad array of publicly and privately funded agencies which provide civil legal services to low-income clients. WisTAF funds programs that address the particular needs and problems of various indigent groups, different geographical regions and special areas of public concern. Agency diversity, in terms of structure, service delivery methods, and sources of funds, is recognized and valued. As such, WisTAF sponsors agencies that provide free legal services as well as those which charge reduced fees for services, consistent with its position that there is room for both models in addressing the needs of Wisconsin’s low income population. WisTAF will not allocate grant funds to organizations to be used for criminal representation.

The WisTAF Board believes that effective funding of grants can take place only in a climate free from political bias and outside interference. WisTAF strongly encourages the cooperation and collaboration of its grantees, and will continue to be guided by these principles as it awards future grants.

Finally, the WisTAF Board reserves the right to change procedures and priorities for the grants program as community needs are identified and as resources change.

Grant Awards
In 2014, WisTAF distributed nearly $1.5 million to 15  agencies providing civil legal services across Wisconsin. 2014 grants included $350,000 from WisTAF’s IOLTA program, $900,000 from the Public Interest Legal Services Fund (PILSF), and $86,000 in cy pres awards. WisTAF also was honored to disburse $115,600 on behalf of the Wisconsin Equal Justice Foundation.

Grant Applications
If you are a civil legal service provider interested in applying for a grant, visit our Applications page. If you currently receive WisTAF funding, and are looking for administrative forms or information, please see the Administrative forms page.

For more information about grants or the grantsmaking process, contact Rebecca Murray, Program Manager.

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PRIME PARTNER SPOTLIGHT

A Prime Partner member of the Wisconsin IOLTA program since 2010, Mound City Bank strives to be the most admired community bank in the State of Wisconsin. Mound City Bank goes above and beyond IOLTA participation requirements by paying additional interest on its clients' IOLTA accounts - helping to expand access to civil legal services in Wisconsin.


Contact us
WisTAF
825 Williamson Street, Suite A, Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.257.6845 or 877.749.5045 (toll-free)
Fax: 608.257.2684
Email: service@wistaf.org

Board & Staff
WisTAF
Board of Directors
WisTAF
De Ette Tomlinson, Executive Director
WisTAF
Rebecca Murray, Program Manager
WisTAF
Tehmina Islam, Program Assistant

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