Equal Justice Works Awarded $2.5 Million Grant for its Disaster Resilience Program

/ Press Release

Grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation will support organization’s work to mobilize lawyers through its Disaster Resilience Program to help communities rebuild and reimagine post COVID-19

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPTEMBER 23, 2021—Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, today announced that it has been awarded a $2.5 million grant by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help communities rebuild and reimagine post COVID-19 through the organization’s Disaster Resilience Program, a legal Fellowship program focused on disaster lawyering.

“We are grateful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for their generous support,” said Sara Morello, executive vice president and chief of staff. “This funding will help bolster our efforts to build a pipeline of passionate public service leaders who will break down siloes in disaster legal response and advance systemic change to ensure that critical legal services are accessible in the aftermath of disasters.”

Since 2005, Equal Justice Works has developed targeted programs to mobilize lawyers to support disaster-affected communities. In 2020, the organization launched its Disaster Resilience Program, placing six Fellows (lawyers) and six Student Fellows (law students) at legal services organizations in Texas and Florida to address the critical legal needs that communities face before, during, and after a disaster. Recently, Equal Justice Works received funding from the California Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund to support two Fellows and two Student Fellows who will begin their Fellowships this fall, providing civil legal aid to communities affected by wildfires in California.

“The Kellogg Foundation is focused on ensuring all children thrive, regardless of their race, gender, citizenship status or zip code,” said Rhea Williams-Bishop, director of programming for Mississippi and New Orleans at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “We know that marginalized communities, which are excluded from opportunities in good times, face greater disparities during and after any disaster. The work at Equal Justice Works is critical to addressing these systemic barriers and helping our children access opportunities so they can thrive.”

The grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will support the Disaster Resilience Program’s next cohort, which will include 12 Fellows and 12 Student Fellows who will assist low-income and immigrant families and children throughout New Mexico and address housing issues for low-income families in Louisiana. Fellows and Student Fellows will work in concert with the program participants in Texas, Florida, and California, to help build economic security in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and promote resilience among marginalized communities.

Equal Justice Works began the selection process for legal services organizations to host these Fellows earlier this month, with Fellows expected to begin work in October 2021 and Student Fellows serving during Summer 2022.

The Disaster Resilience Program is currently funded by the Bigglesworth Family Foundation, California Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and individual contributions.


About Equal Justice Works

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. As the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, nonprofit legal aid organizations, and supporters to promote public service and inspire a lifelong commitment to equal justice.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit

Heena Patel
Marketing and Communications Director
Email: [email protected]
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The work at Equal Justice Works is critical to addressing these systemic barriers and helping our children access opportunities so they can thrive.

Rhea Williams-Bishop /
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow