It's our mission...

Barbara McDowell
Barbara McDowell

Established in 2009 to honor and continue the work of social justice advocate, Barbara McDowell, the Foundation aims to improve the economic well-being, social conditions, and civil liberties of disadvantaged persons and groups in the United States.

We fulfill our mission by making grants to organizations that undertake systemic, social justice litigation and by coordinating direct, pro bono litigation through our High Impact Project, both focusing on:

Access to Benefits
Children’s Rights
Civil Rights
Constitutional Rights
Disability Rights
Domestic Violence
Refugee and Immigration Rights
Low Income Housing
Voting Rights

Since its inception in 2009, the McDowell Foundation has distributed over $1,150,000 in grants to 45 organizations nationwide and participated in some 20 cases and investigations as part of its High Impact Litigation Project.

Foundation Highlights

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Donate Now

Why choose the McDowell Foundation for your next charitable gift? A donation to the McDowell Foundation makes vital financial resources available to nonprofit organizations which undertake social justice litigation on behalf of vulnerable individuals and groups. Learn more here.

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The Foundation’s work and the efforts of the Board appear on the “News” page, along with updates from our Grantees and High Impact Cases. Read more.

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Our Grants

The Board met during September 2018 to discuss grant applications for 2019.  As a result of that discussion, the foundation made grants to a number of organizations.  See our list of 2019 grants. The Board meets every September to choose its grantees for the succeeding year. Read more.

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Apply for Grants

The process for applying for grants is explained on our Applications page. The grant application must identify the specific legal matter for which assistance is sought. Only legal matters that address systemic legal problems that will have a high impact on a specific area of the law will be considered. Apply for grants here.