DRC Awarded $15,500 Grant to Enhance Legal Services for Persons with Disabilities

For Immediate Release: March 13, 2024 
Contact: Paul Shipp, Managing Attorney - Disability & Aging Crime Victims Unit 
785-232-8193 x 120 | paul@drckansas.org

View PDF

TOPEKA — The Disability Rights Center of Kansas (DRC) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant of $15,500 by the Kansas Bar Foundation to provide general civil legal services for its clients. The funds, allocated through the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, aim to address some of the unmet legal needs of seniors and persons with disabilities in Kansas.

DRC sought IOLTA funds to improve services for seniors and persons with disabilities involved in the Kansas court system, with a focus on impactful litigation work. The Kansas Bar Foundation, in allocating these funds, emphasizes the importance of creating a fairer court system for everyone. The grant will allow DRC the flexibility to provide general legal advice on a wide range of issues, helping ensure a holistic approach to meeting the diverse needs of their clients.  

Terri Pemberton, President of the Kansas Bar Foundation (KBF), stated, “The Kansas Bar Foundation is thrilled to provide funding to the DRC for legal services to Kansans with disabilities by virtue of the IOLTA program. Our IOLTA program is a partnership between Kansas attorneys and bankers, and together we have provided almost $5 million since 1984 to support programs that increase access to justice. DRC’s use of these funds fits well within the KBF’s mission to improve the accessibility, equality, and uniformity of the legal system, and we appreciate the opportunity to assist the DRC in meeting the needs of its clients.”

Traditionally, DRC's services focus on cases where there is a clear nexus between a person's disability and a disability or civil rights issue or when they are a crime victim with a disability. This new funding will enable DRC to extend its support to individuals with disabilities facing any civil legal matter, laying the groundwork for a more comprehensive service approach. 

The IOLTA funds will help bridge some existing service gaps, empowering DRC to provide legal representation and advocacy in crucial issue areas like housing, debtor-creditor matters, consumer protection, elder law, administrative law, and family law.

"DRC is committed to improving the administration of justice for persons with disabilities. This grant marks an important moment for DRC. We see this project as a pilot that could lead to further opportunities to potentially expand our capacity to serve even more Kansans with disabilities and seniors, ensuring their rights are protected across a broad spectrum of legal matters,” said Rocky Nichols, Executive Director of DRC. 

For more information on the IOLTA Program, visit www.ksbar.org.

DRC Awarded $15,500 Grant to Enhance Legal Services for Persons with Disabilities