Expanding access to civil legal services in Wisconsin.



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.

WisTAF Announces $978,000 in Grants to Agencies Assisting Low-Income Wisconsinites with Civil Legal Needs

Madison. November 1, 2015 – The Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, Inc. (WisTAF) announced grant awards totaling $978,250 to agencies providing civil legal services for Wisconsin’s poor and underserved in 2016. The funding, which is a 32 percent reduction from 2015 levels, falls far short in addressing the justice gap that exists for Wisconsin’s low-income population hit hardest by the long-lasting effects of the Great Recession.

Grant awards again were restricted due to continued low interest rates applied to lawyers’ trust accounts as part of the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. In past years, WisTAF was able to mitigate the loss in IOLTA revenue by using its reserves to supplement grant awards. However, 2015 marked the end of a gradual draw down on reserves for this purpose – leaving grantees with substantial cuts to grant awards for 2016.

Despite the challenges presented by a shrinking funding base, WisTAF’s partnership with grantee agencies continues to allow for the immensely important provision of affordable legal assistance in areas such as domestic abuse, housing, benefits, employment, and disability rights to thousands of low-income Wisconsin individuals and families.

Often times, grantees are able to use WisTAF grant awards to leverage funding from other sources as noted in the 2016 grant application submitted by Centro Legal por Derechos Humanos, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit agency providing bilingual family law legal services to low-income individuals.

“Centro Legal raises 75% of its annual revenues through grant support, special events, and donations. Grant funders require agencies to identify diverse and stable funding sources. When we list WisTAF funding on our grant applications, new funders are more willing to support us. Additionally, individuals, businesses and foundations consider it important that Centro Legal is supported by the ‘legal community.’ It is absolutely critical that we be able to demonstrate this support by identifying WisTAF as a major funder in our efforts to raise private funds.”

Grants for 2016 were awarded to the following programs:

  • ABC for Health, Inc., $34,100
  • AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), $16,400
  • Center Against Sexual & Domestic Abuse, Inc. (CASDA), $13,700
  • Catholic Charities of the Archdioceses of Milwaukee, Inc., $10,200
  • Catholic Charities of the Diocese of La Crosse, Inc., $10,200
  • Centro Legal por Derechos Humanos, $20,000
  • Community Justice, Inc., $9,000
  • Disability Rights Wisconsin, $74,000
  • Kids Matter, Inc., $13,000
  • Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc., $543,750
  • Legal Aid Society of Door County, Inc., $9,000
  • Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, $74,000
  • Portage County Legal Aid Society, $12,000
  • Wisconsin Judicare, Inc., $138,900

Description of grant recipients


About WisTAF. Created by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1986, the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit poverty law foundation, dedicated to ensuring access to civil legal services for low-income individuals and families. Through its grants program, WisTAF provides funding to agencies which help protect people’s rights and address civil legal needs such as fair housing, domestic abuse, custody and placement, employment discrimination, disability rights and consumer rights, to name a few. WisTAF receives funds for its grant programs by bringing Wisconsin’s legal and financial communities together to generate revenue from Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA). Other sources of funds administered by WisTAF have included the Public Interest Legal Services Fund (PILSF), the State of Wisconsin low-income civil legal services appropriation, and public sources when available. Working with its partners, WisTAF strives to keep our nation's promise of access to justice for all.

#  #  #


If you'd like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with WisTAF Executive Director De Ette Tomlinson, please call 608.257.6844 or email Program Manager Becky Murray at rmurray@wistaf.org.

August 19, 2019
Grantee Listening Session
August 30, 2019
Finance Committee Teleconference
September 10, 2019
Grants & Evaluation Committee Meeting
September 17, 2019
Board Strategic Planning Meeting
September 27, 2019
Executive Committee Teleconference
October 11, 2019
Board of Directors Meeting
WisTAF has posted materials for the 2019 Grantee Mid-Year reports
WisTAF is accepting 2020 Direct Legal Services Grant Applications
WisTAF is accepting 2019-20 DVSA Grant Applications
WisTAF Announces $1,222,750 in Grants to Agencies Assisting Low-Income Wisconsinites with Civil Legal Needs
WisTAF Has Moved!



A Prime Partner member of the Wisconsin IOLTA program since 2010, First Bank Financial Centre strives to be the most admired community bank in the State of Wisconsin. First Bank Financial Centre 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
4600 American Parkway, Suite 104, Madison, WI 53718
Phone: 608.257.6845 or 877.749.5045 (toll-free)
Email: service@wistaf.org

Board & Staff
Board of Directors
Rebecca Murray, Executive Director
Tehmina Islam, IOLTA Program/Office Manager
Carlos Arenas, Program Manager

©2019, Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, Inc., 4600 American Parkway, Suite 104, Madison, WI 53718
877-749-5045 (toll free) • service@wistaf.org • To report problems with this site, contact the webmaster.
Disclaimer of Liability | Terms & Conditions of Use | Privacy Statement

© Moksaphoto