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 2021, WisTAF disbursed $2.9 million to serve 9,547 clients across Wisconsin. While significant, this funding falls far short of the estimated $30 million-plus that would have been needed to address civil legal needs of Wisconsin families of limited means 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 help 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 also invest budget resources for civil legal aid grants administered by WisTAF. Beginning in 2015, each State of Wisconsin budget has allocated $500,000 per year to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families for a WisTAF-administered grant program supporting Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Legal Services (DVSA). In 2022, WisTAF was entrusted with one-time federal funds related to COVID-19 relief and Afghan immigration in Wisconsin. Grants drawing on these resources currently support related legal assistance throughout Wisconsin.

A another 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).

September 30, 2022
Executive Committee Meeting
October 14, 2022
WisTAF Board Meeting
October 21, 2022
Board & Staff Racial Justice Workgroup meeting
December 2, 2022
Board & Staff Racial Justice Workgroup meeting
January 13, 2023
Board & Staff Racial Justice Workgroup meeting
March 3, 2023
Board & Staff Racial Justice Workgroup meeting
Now Available: COVID-19 Civil Legal Services Grant Application materials
Now Available: WisTAF 2023 Direct Legal Services Grant Application materials
WisTAF awards $450,000 in Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Legal Assistance Grants
WisTAF Publishes 2021 Annual Report
WisTAF awards $3.3 million in Civil Legal Aid grants



A Prime Partner since 2010, Peoples State 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. Peoples State 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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