FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: VPLC will help more low-income Virginians with civil legal issues thanks to $1M grant

Tuesday, March 19th, 2024

Richmond, Va, March 19, 2024 – Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has awarded Virginia Poverty Law Center $1 million through her charitable organization, Yield Giving. The grant will help VPLC expand its legal resources and online tools to assist thousands of additional Virginians by providing one-of-a-kind, multi-format, self-help materials.

Today’s announcement follows a competitive, nationwide call for proposals on ways to find the best solutions to the country’s biggest problems. The award to VPLC acknowledges the tremendous need for all Virginians to have access to justice, regardless of their income.

“I’ve been a legal aid lawyer for 37 years. We started with the promise of a lawyer for everyone that needs one, but lack of resources has never made that possible. We added legal helplines to reach more people, and now we’re taking our mission to the next level to reach more people that need our help,” said Jay Speer, VPLC Executive Director. “The promise of equal protection under the law is hollow if millions have no real access to justice, especially when they don’t have a lawyer representing them.”

The project will kick off in May with VPLC’s new Eviction Defense Center (EDC). The online resource will provide simple, usable information and innovative tools tenants can take to court to fight eviction. EDC Director Phil Storey says people facing evictions in court without an attorney rarely get good outcomes. “But many people can get better results if they come ready to present information in ways that make it easy for the judge to understand,” said Storey.

The funding provides a foundation for VPLC’s ongoing commitment to expand and sustain resources for those who need help with housing issues, health care, public benefits, consumer rights, utilities fairness, and advocacy for children, seniors, and parents.


Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) is the state support center for all civil legal aid programs in Virginia. VPLC’s work breaks down systemic barriers that keep low-income Virginians in the cycle of poverty through advocacy, education, and litigation. Visit for more information.

Yield Giving was established by MacKenzie Scott to share a financial fortune created through the effort of countless people, Yield is named after a belief in adding value by giving up control. To date, Yield’s network of staff and advisors has yielded over $14,000,000,000 to 1,600+ non-profit teams to use as they see fit for the benefit of others. Learn more at

VPLC Contact: Connie Stevens, Communications Director, Cell: 540-354-8597,

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One Comment

  1. James E. Naggles says:

    This is great news. Let me know if there’s a way I can help.

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