Every year, Legal Aid Society works to improve access to justice for hundreds of people living in poverty whose needs are simply not being met. And the needs are great: getting legal help could mean that a family gets heat in the winter, a woman escapes a domestic violence situation, a senior citizen obtains the right prescription drug plan, a person in need receives the proper safety net benefits. Last year, Legal Aid services directly benefited nearly 8,800 District residents, the majority of whom live in the poorest wards of the city. Thousands more benefited from referrals, legal rights education efforts, and law reforms that better protect those rights. Equal justice is at the very core of the mission. Your support allows the oldest and largest legal services program in DC to continue making justice real for everyone.

COVID-19 Update: Shifting from in-court representation to direct assistance, Legal Aid has helped clients with unemployment insurance, public benefits, eviction defense, foreclosure, debt collection and domestic violence issues. Advocating (always with a racial justice lens) with the DC Council, DC Superior Court, and DC government yielded significant successes: the District suspended evictions, foreclosures, and debt collection actions, and extended an array of income support and health care programs for DC residents. It also developed a reopening plan that recognizes the challenges faced by the DC community.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 2

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; Wards 7 and 8, in particular.

Age Groups Served: Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-49); Seniors (50+)

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Asian American; Caucasian; Latino/Hispanic; Other

Population(s) Served: All

Awards & Recognition

Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation Exponent Award, awarded to Legal Aid's Executive Director, Jonathan Smith, in 2009.


  • Five Leaders Honored for Perseverance in Downturn
    Mon Oct 5 2009, The Washington Post  
    Winners include...Jonathan M. Smith, executive director of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia...

Budget (FY2015)

  • The current budget for Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia is: $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $40 million for charities across the Greater Washington region.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy looks to friends like you to keep our services independent and entirely free of charge. Consider a small contribution to the Catalogue to cap off your gift and help the causes you care about get the full support they deserve!

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