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Access to Justice Fund Grant Commission

Access to Justice Fund Grant Commission

About the Access to Justice Fund Grant Commission and Its Mission

The ATJ Fund Grant Commission is a commission of the State Bar of New Mexico.  The mission of the Commission is to be the financial steward of the New Mexico Supreme Court Fund for Access to Justice (ATJ Fund).  The ATJ Fund consists of funds generated pursuant to Supreme Court rule including Interest on Lawyer’s Trust Accounts (IOLTA) and Pro Hac Vice fees.  The fund also includes all funds donated by attorneys on their license renewal forms.

The Commission solicits grant applications annually from qualified civil legal service providers.  The Commission then reviews the applications and awards grants from the ATJ Fund.  The State Bar of New Mexico is the fiscal agent for the grant. 

Donna Smith is the State Bar point of contact for obtaining application materials, questions regarding the application process, and application submission. Donna can be reached at

2024-2025 RFP Process is NOW CLOSED

Criteria for Organizations to Apply for Grants

The Commission accepts grant applications from nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal services to low-income New Mexicans consistent with the current State Plan for the Provision of Civil Legal Services to Low-Income New Mexicans (“State Plan”). The Commission considers applications for both new and on-going projects. 

Eligible organizations must be a nonprofit organization or an in-house legal department with an organization with a current or pending 501(c)(3) status that has as its primary mission the delivery of legal services to low-income persons, provides services using one or more of the service delivery methods identified in the current State Plan, and employs (not contracts with) at least one full-time attorney who devotes at least 75% of his/her time to representation of low-income persons. 

Out of state providers may apply for grant funding if the funding will be used to serve New Mexico residents. Please note that projects from in-state providers that provide the same or similar services to those proposed by an out-of-state provider will be given preference.  Out-of-state providers should clearly explain why the proposed services are not otherwise available within the state.

Please see the current RFP for more guidance regarding applications.

Total of Grants awarded and List of Current Grantees

For the 2023-2024 grant cycle, the Commission awarded a total of just over $1,200,000 in grants to qualifying civil legal services organizations.

The following is a list of the current grantees:

  • Disability Rights New Mexico
  • Enlance Comunitario
  • Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center
  • Native American Disability Law Center
  • New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty
  • New Mexico Environmental Law Center
  • New Mexico Immigrant Law Center
  • New Mexico Legal Aid
  • Pegasus Legal Services for Children


The ATJ Fund Grant Commission is comprised of ten members.  Three Commissioners are designated by the Supreme Court, three are designated by the ATJ Commission, three are designated by the State Bar, and one position is an ex officio position reserved for the person who serves as chair of the New Mexico Legal Services Commission. 

The chair of the Commission is designated by the Board of Bar Commissioners from one of the Commissioners appointed by the State Bar.  The chair of the Commission only votes in the event of a tie vote by the Commission.

Commissioner may not be affiliated with a civil legal services organization who would be eligible to apply for fund from the Fund.

The current Commission Roster is:


Appointing Agency

Donna Connolly, Commission Chair        


George Chandler

ATJ Commission

Jennifer Foote

ATJ Commission

Ben Sherman


Bridget Mullins

ATJ Commission

Nan G. Nash


Barbara Stephenson


David Berlin


Alexander Flores


Mark Fidel

NM Legal Services Commission Chair