300 East Main Street, Suite 110
Lexington KY 40507
Contact Information
Address 300 East Main Street, Suite 110
Lexington, KY 40507
Phone (859) 957-0188
Fax 606 783-1342
Contact Name Brenda Combs
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 1968
Former Names
Central Kentucky Legal Services
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer
If you wish to make a charitable contribution, please forward a check made payable to Legal Aid of the Bluegrass to 300 East Main Street, Ste. 100, Lexington, KY 41011. Anyone interested in volunteering may email Brenda Combs at bcombs (@) or by calling 859-957-0189. 
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Mission Statement To resolve the most important problems of low income and other vulnerable people by providing high quality legal assistance through direct representation, education, advice, advocacy and coordination with other community resources.
Background Statement

Legal Aid of the Bluegrass is a non-profit law firm providing free civil legal assistance to poor and vulnerable people in its service area. The area covers 33 northeastern and central Kentucky counties. Our four offices are located in Ashland, Covington, Lexington, and Morehead. No client has more than an hour’s drive to an office. We provide legal services in the areas of government benefits, consumer, housing, and elder and family law. We focus on helping people gain safety, employment, basic needs, income, and self-sufficiency. For example, when we stop domestic violence, a survivor can more easily hold a job. Where we keep families in their homes by stopping a foreclosure or eviction, they become stable enough to get or keep a job. Where we help an elderly person get prescription drugs, they have better health.

Our clients struggle. They are poor, elderly, and vulnerable, such as nursing home residents or domestic violence victims. They often do not have their basic needs met, and need the services of an attorney who is a tool to this end. 

Legal Aid of the Bluegrass was first incorporated in 1967 and has provided legal services to its communities since then. We are governed by a 24 member board of directors made up of lawyers, client representatives, and a development professional from our local communities. Our organization and staff are highly regarded in the communities as providing quality services and leadership. They have received numerous awards and recognition for their work. Our staff serve on numerous boards and are involved in community initiatives. 



Impact Statement


1.) Glenda Harrison retired after 42 years with our organization. Karen Ginn, was selected as LABG’s Advocacy Director in October of 2017. The Leadership team has gone to great lengths to ensure a smooth transition. Staff has responded positively and shared appreciation for transparency during the transition. We worked hard to ensure that our clients will experience the same level of excellence in our representation as they did under Glenda’s leadership.

2.) LABG acquired funding from the Kentucky Bar Foundation to expand Legal Aid University to Lexington. Legal Aid University is a program that provides free civil legal training to young attorneys in exchange for offering free legal services through our pro bono program. Legal Aid University sessions are now happening in Northern Kentucky and Fayette County increasing young attorney participation on pro bono panels.

Goals for the year:

1.) Implement a LIVE intake system that reduces the time from initial contact to legal help for clients. Embrace the idea of full access that the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) encourages by providing legal advice or a referral to all callers.

2.) Our Legal Needs Assessment survey results indicate that transportation is a barrier that low-income Kentuckians face when seeking legal help. Additionally a Gaps in Services study indicates that there are 10 counties in our service area that we are currently under-serving. To address these issues, LABG acquired funding for a mobile office, The Justice Bus, that will travel to rural communities delivering legal services to those who otherwise cannot access it. The Justice Bus is currently being outfitted and will hit the road this year. LABG will need to modify operations of mobile office services to fill service gaps and remove barriers to potential clients.

3.) Starting in 2018, LABG implemented a new structure based on legal practice areas instead of geographic location. The units include: Family, Housing, Economic Stability, Special Populations, Government Benefits and Health, and Pro Bono. The substantive law units are the structures to make sure that the legal work we do is of high quality and uniform throughout the program. The unit leaders will make sure that advocates have the training, support, technology and resources needed to do the cases; that processes are streamlined to get the cases done; and that the knowledge and expertise of one advocate is available to all advocates. More exciting though, the units will also be the catalysts for identifying the cutting edge issues in the law of the unit and developing innovative projects to address individual and systemic issues in that area of law.

Needs Statement

1.) Expansion and Enhancement of Pro Bono presence in 33 county service area. LABG hired a pro bono coordinator position whose focus is on recruitment and retention of pro bono attorneys. His work to increase our ability to serve more low-income Kentuckians continues. 

LABG must establish a reliable private donor base. While we maintain relationships and identify new opportunities for grant and foundation funding well, we have not fostered a culture of individual giving among the legal community.
Continued Improvement on technological infrastructure including phone system. Current focus is on incorporating Microsoft 365 team collaboration software into our internal systems and training to use that software effectively. Seeking funding for technology assessment and training. $10,000-$20,000
CEO/Executive Director Statement

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

During this tumultuous political season with so much talk from politicians and candidates alike about the U.S. Constitution I have found myself reading and rereading this revered document. My attention turns to the preamble and I am pleasantly reminded that our founding fathers before anything else formed our country in order to establish justice. Right there in the opening lines of one of the greatest documents ever written I find validation for the work that we do at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass.

However, contrary to that intention, not all people have access to our justice system. Based on U.S. Census data, 18.5% or nearly 818,000 Kentuckians live in poverty. About 220,000 of these people are living in Legal Aid of the Bluegrass’s service region. Kentucky’s  civil legal aid programs are the only Kentucky programs helping low-income people with civil legal problems like domestic violence, and sexual assault, consumer scams, denial of disability benefits for Veterans, home foreclosure due to predatory lending, elder abuse, unlawful eviction from a nursing home, and helping disaster survivors back to their feet.

The poor are more likely to experience legal problems in relation to their income, housing and safety, but they are considerably less likely to seek help because the financial and physical cost of legal problems can be high. Legal Aid of the Bluegrass plays an essential role in helping people access justice and protections under the law.

But there is good news, for almost 50 years, LABG has been fighting to ensure fairness and accessibility to our justice system, especially for the most vulnerable members of our communities. Even with all of the funding challenges that we faced 2016 was no different. Last year, through the services of our advocates and staff LABG provided legal assistance impacting 9,051 adults and 4,612 children. This includes over 1000 veterans and their households and 3,625 domestic violence victims and their children

While these results are laudable, the need in our community continues to be great. The rate of persons living in poverty in our community continues to increase and the rate of children living in poverty is truly alarming. There is much work that remains to be done. LABG will continue fulfilling our role of helping to establish justice for all in our Commonwealth.

Geographic Areas Served
Anderson County
Bath County
Boone County
Bourbon County
Boyd County
Boyle County
Bracken County
Campbell County
Carroll County
Carter County
Elliott County
Fayette County
Fleming County
Franklin County
Gallatin County
Grant County
Greenup County
Harrison County
Jessamine County
Kenton County
Lawrence County
Lewis County
Mason County
Menifee County
Mercer County
Montgomery County
Morgan County
Nicholas County
Owen County
Pendleton County
Robertson County
Rowan County
Scott County
Woodford County
All towns, neighborhoods and zip codes in these 33 Kentucky counties. We also provide partial services in the following counties: Clark, Estill, Garrard, Lincoln, Madison and Powell.
Board Chair
Board Chair Hon. James R. Kruer
Company Affiliation Chevalier Ginn & Kruer, PSC
Term June 2016 to June 2020
Board Members
Hon. Mindy Barfield Dinsmore & Shohl LLPVoting
Hon. Nicole Sotiriou Bearse Johnson & Newcomb, LLPVoting
Hon. Paul Blair Paul Blair Law OfficeVoting
Hon. Sara Elrod Sara Elrod Law OfficeVoting
Sherman Frederick Client Population RepresentativeVoting
Willahmenia Ginter Client Population RepresentativeVoting
Deanna Jessie Client Population RepresentativeVoting
Hon. James Kruer Chevalier Ginn & Kruer, PSCVoting
Connie Kyle Client Population RepresentativeVoting
Bonnie Louis Client Population RepresentativeVoting
Billie Mallory Client Population RepresentativeVoting
Hon. LaToi D. Mayo Littler MendelsonVoting
Bessie Mays Client Populaton RepresentativeVoting
Hon. John R. McGinnis MCBrayer, Leslie, McGinnis & Kirkland, PLLCVoting
Hon. James Moore Campbell Woods PLLCVoting
Hon. Anne-Tyler Morgan Kentucky Cabinet Healthy and Family Services
Hon. Michael Nitardy Frost Brown Todd, LLCVoting
Hon. William R. Noelker The Law Office of William R. NoelkerVoting
Hon. Kim Hunt Price Law Office of Kim Price PLLCVoting
Hon. Debra Rigg Rigg Law FirmVoting
Becky Sittason Mercy Health SystemsVoting
Hon. Cathy L Stickels DBL LawVoting
Hon. Palmer Gene Vance IIStoll Keenon OgdenVoting
Sarah Young Client Population RepresentativeVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 21
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 9
Female 15
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 58%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Hon. James Moore
Company Affiliation Campbell Woods, PLLC
Term June 2016 to June 2020
Standing Committees
Program / Program Planning
Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
CEO Comments
We also have a client grievance committee and procedures so that clients may grieve denial of service and the quality of service.
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Mr. Joshua Crabtree
Term Start July 2014

Joshua Crabtree is the Executive Director of Legal Aid of the Bluegrass (LABG). Prior to joining LABG, Joshua, was the long time managing attorney of the Children’s Law Center. At LABG, Joshua leads the mission and vision of an organization dedicated to providing civil legal assistance designed to alleviate the most brutal problems endured by low income residents of 33 eastern, northern and central Kentucky counties. He is proud to be a part of an organization whose mission is to be the lifeline to justice, safety and stability in its communities.

Along with his leadership and management responsibilities, Joshua’s scholarly work has focused on issues facing children in the areas of child custody, education and child victims of crime cases. Joshua is the co-editor of The Federal Education Rights of Children: A Practitioner’s Guide as well as a published author and co-author of several works regarding the ethics of representing children, the education rights of children and issues regarding child custody. He regularly presents on these topics at events including the KBA Convention, ABA Child Custody Conferences and Kentucky Law Updates as well as small group presentations to schools and local civic organizations. Joshua is also a certified family mediator and has taught classes at local universities and law schools on topics involving the legal rights of children.

Joshua is a cum laude graduate of Transylvania University and an honors graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He is also a graduate of the Leadership Kentucky class of 2014 & a 2009 graduate of Leadership Northern Kentucky. Joshua was elected to the Kenton County Board of Education in 2014 along with serving as member of several bar and civic organizations including the Future of the Practice of Law Commission & the KBA Committee on Child Protection and Domestic Violence. Joshua resides in Ft. Wright, Kentucky where he is active with his Church, community and family.


Full Time Staff 43
Part Time Staff 15
Volunteers 400
Contractors 4
Retention Rate 90%
Management Reports to Board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 58
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 18
Female 43
Unspecified 0
Senior Staff
Title Business Director
Ms. Combs graduated from Morehead State University in 1988 with a Bachelor's Degree with an emphasis on Business. She is received her M.B.A. from Murray State University in 2014. She began as Business Director with Legal Aid in 1990. She is responsible for the non-legal operation of the program, which includes overseeing technology; overseeing and assisting in project implementation; grants administration including grant writing and reporting; financial and human resource oversight.  She was Chair of the statewide Technology Committee for legal services from 2000 until recently. She previously taught Grantsmanship and business writing community education classes for Morehead State University. Brenda is currently a member of the Society for Human Resource Management.
Title Advocacy Director
Experience/Biography Karen Ginn is the Director of Advocacy at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass. Karen joined Legal Aid of the Bluegrass from private practice in Northern Kentucky where she represented parties in family law conflicts and students with special education needs. She is a certified mediator. Prior to her legal career she worked in public relations/advertising and as an independent writer of educational curriculum. Ms. Ginn is a 2003 graduate of Northern Kentucky University, Chase College of Law. Her undergraduate degree is a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Kentucky. Along with her work at Legal Aid, she actively participates on boards and committees of community organizations and her religious denomination.
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
NonManagement Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually

This project is intended to help families find their path out of poverty, have opportunities to thrive and live safely and independently by using the legal system to remove barriers to increased family income, physical safety, employment and family stability. LABG provides family centered legal services delivered and designed so families can stabilize or obtain housing, remove barriers to employment and getting an education, get themselves and their children into a safe environment, increase their income through receipt of benefits and child support, combat abusive consumer practices that undermine their ability to maintain their income, and promote good health through accessing or maintaining the ability to have health care.

Category Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified, Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short Term Success Many will increase their income as a result of our service. One study shows that every direct dollar spent to fund civil legal services brings $ $2.20 in personal income to the client community. (Perryman, 2009) A Social Return on Investment study of our own services, completed in 2016, found that every dollar of our funding brings $7.45 into our local communities.
Program Long term Success
Without affordable, safe housing, families may not be able to afford other basic needs. Families suffer without access to clean running water or appliances to prepare a meal. When evicted, children are often up-rooted from their schools and experience a lapse in their education. Maintaining a job becomes a challenge without a place to store belongings, a safe place to sleep or a place to get ready for work in the mornings.
Criminal records, wage garnishments, lack of driver’s licenses, student loan debt and other consumer and public benefits issues jeopardize a family’s financial stability and are barriers to employment, education and increased income.
Families in poverty endure violence at rates higher than others. Access to legal aid attorneys can dramatically increase the likelihood victims and children get results in court that reduce or stop the violence. According to one study, 83% of those represented by a legal aid attorney successfully obtained a protective order, compared to 32% without an attorney.(Murphy, 2003)
Access to legal services is a first line defense in assuring that low income families and children are safe, independent and healthy. Through the legal system our attorneys stop violence, remove barriers and preserve housing. This work is measurable, and paves the pathway out of poverty for families with children.
Examples of Program Success
An elderly couple living in Lexington take care of their disabled son and struggle to make ends meet. They were facing foreclosure after Mr. Smith was laid off from his job as a chaplain at Hospice. He was able to get another chaplaincy job, but it didn’t provide enough hours to cover the bills. They fell behind on their mortgage. He was finally able to get his hours up so he could pay the mortgage, but the lender had already foreclosed of their property. They faced losing their home and the job Mr. Smith had just gotten. A Legal Aid of the Bluegrass attorney represented them in court and negotiated with the lender to stop the foreclosure. The agreement included a loan modification allowing them to afford the monthly payments and catch up the arrearage. Mr. and Mr. Smith are no longer in danger of becoming homeless or face losing a job because of the time it takes to move. Their son is safe and continues to receive care in the home.
A woman contacted Legal Aid after suffering a 4th degree assault from her boyfriend. She has several health issues including MS and is sometimes wheelchair bound. Her abuser was living in her home and began acting erratically. The situation turned from bad to worse when one day she was attacked unprovoked. Her boyfriend threw her against the kitchen cabinets. He began choking her and then threw her to ground and smashed her face into the floor. In the moment when he released her, she reached for her phone. Her assailant grabbed it, smashed it and pulled a pocket knife on her. He began threatening her life. She escaped to her bedroom and called the police. He was arrested and he was charged with assault. Legal Aid of the Bluegrass successfully represented her in a DVO hearing providing her legal protection from him effective immediately. Additionally, LABG helped her navigate the process of getting him moved out of her home.
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Management Succession Plan? Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Hodson AwardAmerican Bar Association2005
Exceptional Service AwardSalmon P. Chase College of Law2010
Donated Legal Services Award/ Glenda HarrisonKentucky Bar Association2016
Distinguished Lawyer AwardKentucky Bar Association2013
Donated Legal Services Award/ Dick CullisonKentucky Bar Association2014
Donated Legal Services Award/ Dick CullisonKentucky Bar Association2014
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2018
Projected Revenue $4,320,805.00
Projected Expenses $4,873,800.00
Detailed Financials
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Revenue$5,568,857$4,352,970$4,158,003
Total Expenses$4,204,760$4,102,109$3,882,080
Revenue Less Expenses$1,364,097$250,861$275,923
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available). Revenue from foundations and corporations may be included in individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$5,127,404$3,928,043$3,647,577
Individual Contributions$109,693$97,961$235,177
Investment Income, Net of Losses$260$308$382
Membership Dues----$0
Special Events----$0
Revenue In-Kind----$50,247
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$3,631,723$3,529,050$3,343,441
Administration Expense$412,689$440,284$439,825
Fundraising Expense$160,348$132,775$98,814
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.321.061.07
Program Expense/Total Expenses86%86%86%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue3%3%2%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$4,432,411$3,147,827$3,032,198
Current Assets$2,969,894$1,745,575$1,592,986
Long-Term Liabilities$569,046$640,501$750,167
Current Liabilities$335,377$343,435$369,001
Total Net Assets$3,527,988$2,163,891$1,913,030
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Campaign Purpose To pay for new office space for our Lexington office
Goal $600,000.00
Dates July 2014 to July 2017
Amount Raised To Date 88758 as of Apr 2015
State Registration Yes
CEO Comments
Although the current year's expenses is projected to be more than the income revenue, LABG entered the year with carryover funds in the amount of $1,980,792 which means we project to deficit spend this year but we are not insolvent.
Address 300 East Main Street, Suite 110
Lexington, KY 40507
Primary Phone 859 957-0188
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Joshua Crabtree
Board Chair Hon. James R. Kruer
Board Chair Company Affiliation Chevalier Ginn & Kruer, PSC