The Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation works with civil legal aid organizations in Wisconsin to increase access to justice. We oversee funds and invest in services and projects to help people resolve legal problems.


In 2020, WisTAF disbursed $2.8 million to directly serve 10,899 clients across Wisconsin, while indirectly serving many more through supporting the operations of grantee agencies. Though not insignificant, this funding has fallen far short of the estimated need for legal services in Wisconsin—even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WisTAF grants in recent years have drawn on the following fund sources. 

The Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program and the Public Interest Legal Services Fund (PILSF) program 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 judges support the PILSF program with an annual contribution. The court established another, smaller funding stream for civil legal aid by redirecting a portion of the admission fees paid by nonresident lawyers to participate in particular actions in Wisconsin (known as pro hac vice).

Wisconsin’s lawmakers and governor invest state budget resources for civil legal aid grants administered by WisTAF. Beginning in 2015, each biennial budget has allocated $500,000 per year to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families for a WisTAF-administered grant program supporting legal services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse (DVSA). 

A final, major source currently in operation is a 2014 U.S. Justice Department settlement with Bank of America which allocated a finite amount of funds for forclosure prevention and community redevelopment legal assistance (FP/CRLA).

Additional support comes from private donations as well as other settlements, class actions, and the like, including residual funds (known as cy pres).

June 1, 2022
Executive Committee Meeting
June 1, 2022
nINA Collective Co-learning session
June 15, 2022
WisTAF Board Meeting
August 24, 2022
Finance Committee Meeting
September 13, 2022
Grants & Evaluation Committee Meeting
September 30, 2022
Executive Committee Meeting
October 14, 2022
WisTAF Board Meeting
WisTAF awards $3.3 million in Civil Legal Aid grants
Even 2020 Couldn't Stop Justice Assistance
How Civil Legal Aid Helps Our State



A Prime Partner since 2010, First Business 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. First Business Bank's participation reflects an admirable commitment to justice for all 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
Benson Gardner, Communications and Development Manager

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