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. This year, we found that the veteran population in our service area was vulnerable and needed legal help. We are adding a program to serve veterans as a result.

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. In 2005, the ABA presented us with their Hodson Award given annually to a public interest law firm for excellence. We were the only program in the nation to receive this award that year. In 2010, our Executive Director received the Salmon P. Chase College of Law “Exceptional Service Award.” The recipient of this award is an alumnus who exhibits the ideals of Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law through exceptional service to the community.

Our management team has a combined 70 years of experience, including our Executive Director with over 7 years, our Advocacy Director with over 30 years, and our Business Director with over 30 years. We employ a CPA and 10 years' experience. We encourage our staff to get training and take leadership roles in our local communities.


Impact Statement

Accomplishments from past year:

1.)  Increase in the number of people provided brief counsel and advice (5,285 cases serving 7,133 adults and 2,753 children). LABG has invested resources to ensure that we have a high quality centralized intake unit to serve the community in the most efficient & effective ways possible. We added one full time & two part time attorneys, who have significant legal experience. This has reduced the number of potential clients waiting for a call back & allows for a more thorough intake experience.

2.) Providing peace and protection for elderly Kentuckians through expanded outreach and wills clinics in all 33 counties within our service region and an additional 7 in which we provide limited services. Developed presence and extended referral opportunities in rural counties by providing representation in all 40 counties.

3.)  LABG added a Communications Manager position to help advance our mission of providing legal services to low-income populations. We developed a robust online presence which allows us to communicate with community partners, offer relevant news & provide info on our areas of practice. We released an online newsletter & better publicize news & events through improved media relations. LABG is focused on sharing information to create a path for clients, staff, other stakeholders & the community at large to connect with us so we can work to ensure fairness, protect families & change lives.

Goals for current year:

1.)  Launch of our new website in late spring of 2016. LABG in collaboration with the Center for Applied Informatics (CAI) at NKU is working to establish a new website that enhances the ability for clients to connect with us to receive the assistance they need to provide them access to justice.

2.)  Creation of organizational strategic plan which provides a shared sense of mission and vision for the organization and develops measurable goals.

3.) Completion of a Community Legal Needs Assessment allowing the identification of pressing legal problems of the low-income population in our service regions resulting in the adjustment of objectives and strategies to best addresses the most critical civil legal needs.

Needs Statement

1.) Expansion and Enhancement of Pro Bono presence in 33 county service area. LABG is developing a pro bono coordinator position that will focus on recruitment and retention of pro bono attorneys in the bluegrass increasing our ability to serve more low-income Kentuckians.

2.)  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.

3.) Continue significant improvements on technological infrastructure. $120,000 for new switches and firewall.

4.) Tools to complete Community Legal Needs Assessment. Legal Aid of the Bluegrass continues to engage in a rigorous process to stay informed of the changing dynamics of the legal needs of low-income individuals & the best ways to deliver services to meet these needs. Our 2016 comprehensive assessment will require us to poll and survey clients and community members, facilitate focus groups and contract a social return on investment study to demonstrate the impact civil legal services have on local economy. $10,000

5.)  New Kentucky laws have increased protection for victims of dating violence and stalking and the ability to expunge criminal records for some non-violent Class D felonies. LABG must increase its capacity to serve those impacted by the expanded laws, increasing the access of justice for many Kentuckians.

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 political season with so much talk from candidates 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.


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. By protecting families through advocacy aimed at securing housing, income, family and interpersonal safety as well as many other needs, LABG empowers people to achieve economic and family stability in order to rise out of the confines of poverty.


2015 was no different. Last year, through the services of our advocates and staff LABG provided legal assistance to 10,509 adults and 5,909 children. This includes almost 1000 veterans and members of their households and nearly 1500 individuals who have been the victims of violence. The work of our advocates results in money being returned to our clients’ pockets and being returned to our communities.


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 "Community Volunteer"Voting
Willahmenia Ginter Paul Blair Law OfficeVoting
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 Greenup Bar AssociationVoting
Hon. James Moore Campbell Woods PLLCVoting
Hon. Anne-Tyler Morgan Attorney-Fayette County Bar Association
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 University HospitalVoting
Hon. Cathy L Stickels Attorney RepresentativeVoting
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 20
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 15
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 52%
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
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

Originally from Monticello, Kentucky, Joshua Crabtree has called Northern Kentucky home since beginning law school in 2000. Joshua was admitted to the bar in 2003 and has spent his legal career at the Children’s Law Center since 2004, moving from staff attorney to managing attorney. Along with management responsibilities, Joshua regularly represents clients in child custody, child maltreatment, education and child victim cases.  Joshua is the co-editor of The Federal Education Rights of Children: A Practitioner’s Guide, as well as a published author of several works regarding the ethics of representing children, the education rights of children and issues regarding child custody.  He regularly presents on topics involving the legal rights of children at major conferences and conventions around the country as well as small group presentations to schools and local civic organizations.  Joshua is also a family mediator and regularly teaches 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 2009 graduate of Leadership Northern Kentucky.  Joshua is a member of several bar and civic organizations including the KBA Committee on Child Protection and Domestic Violence, a Director of the Northern Kentucky Bar Association and serves as Vice-Chair of Family Promise(formerly IHN), among others. Joshua is actively involved at Florence Christian Church where he serves as an Elder as well Vice-Chair of the board.

Joshua resides in Ft. Wright with his wife Sara, NKU’s Associate Counsel, and their two children.
Full Time Staff 41
Part Time Staff 12
Volunteers 400
Contractors 3
Retention Rate 90%
Management Reports to Board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 48
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 10
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 expected to receive an M.B.A. from Murray State University in May 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.
Title Advocacy Director
Experience/Biography Ms. Harrison graduated from Florida State University in 1972 with a B.A. She graduated from Northern Kentucky University, Chase College of Law, in 1982 with a J.D. She was in private practice from 1882-1983. She began working as a staff attorney at Northern Kentucky Legal Aid Society (now Legal Aid of theBluegrass) in 1984, and became Advocacy Director in 2004. She has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Office of Kentucky Legal Services Programs since 1999, and a Chairperson of the Kentucky Legal Services Planning Commission Steering Committee since 2000.
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
Description At some point in their lives 37% of Kentucky women will experience domestic violence. In 40% of the homes where domestic violence occurs, children under the age of 12 live and child abuse occurs more frequently. The legal help that we provide for women and children experiencing violence paves the way for physical safety and self-sufficiency. Private attorneys in our communities partner with us through the Voices Against Violence Program (a volunteer pro bono program for private attorneys) to help us provide this service at no cost to the client. We partner with 5 domestic violence/sexual abuse shelters in providing this service.


Category Human Services, General/Other
Population Served Victims, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short Term Success
People who experience violence at the hands of a loved one will understand their legal rights and how to report abusive behavior.
Program Long term Success
People who are experiencing violence at the hands of a loved one will live a violence free, stable life.
Program Success Monitored By
Program success is monitored by collecting demographic, income and outcome information by client that is stored in an extensive database and monitoring the results annually through analyzing the results compared to targeted projections.


Examples of Program Success
A mother of four had been abused and threatened by her husband for years. One night, they argued and Anna told her husband she wanted a divorce. He attacked her, choking her, pinning her against the floor, twisting her neck and threatening to kill her in front of their children. The children called the police and they arrested Anna's husband. We represented Anna in a protective order hearing so she could have the protection she needed to be safe. The judge ordered a three year protective order that required her abuser to have no contact with her. She received custody of their children and child support. We are now helping her get a divorce.
Description Families and the elderly living in poverty live with the risk of losing something -- be it their homes, jobs, health, or independence. A report by the Urban Institute found that if families with children had full access to government programs designed to lift them out of poverty, then poverty would decline by more than 20 percent. Accessing public benefits programs is particularly important for the elderly poor since without that help, many must choose between eating and buying their medicine. We foster poor people’s independence by helping them access the public benefits for which they are eligible and educating them about protecting the family income.
Category Human Services, General/Other
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens,
Program Short Term Success

Families/individuals will be aware of their rights to public benefits and will receive enrollment information and legal assistance, when needed.

Program Long term Success

Families/Individuals access eligible public benefits/work supports (EITC, CTC, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, KCHIP, child care subsidies, SSI, SSA Disability, etc.) when a benefit has been wrongfully denied.

Program Success Monitored By Program success is monitored by collecting demographic, income and outcome information by client that is stored in an extensive database and monitoring the results annually through analyzing the results compared to targeted projections.


Examples of Program Success A disabled man contacted us when he was notified that the Social Security Administration had overpaid him $25,000 in Social Security disability benefits. The SSA thought he had received wages for working that put him over the limit that a disabled person can make and still receive disability benefits. SSA was going to recoup the money from the man's disability checks. We investigated and found that the man had received subsidy and special condition payments from his employer that should not be counted against him. The employer completed an evaluation form for the SSA that we submitted for the client. After the SSA office considered the information, they agreed with our argument and found that they had actually underpaid him instead of overpaying him. The man received a $56 check from SSA to settle the matter.


Description As the purchasing power of the minimum wage erodes, poor working families struggle with a steadily growing gap between what they earn and their families’ basic needs. We provide legal services to the unemployed or under employed so they can get or keep a job. Services center on helping domestic violence victims with employment issues, and helping families keep stable housing, get access to public benefits, and maintain income so they can work. In a few instances, we can help people expunge criminal records.
Category Human Services, General/Other
Population Served Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent,
Program Short Term Success

Under or unemployed applicants for service are aware of legal barriers to getting or retaining employment paying a living wage.

Program Long term Success

Individuals have employment barriers removed/issues resolved through the legal system.

Program Success Monitored By Program success is monitored by collecting demographic, income and outcome information by client that is stored in an extensive database and monitoring the results annually through analyzing the results compared to targeted projections.


Examples of Program Success

A 26 year old man had been charged more than five years ago with possession of marijuana and of drug paraphernalia. The charges were dismissed so he was never found guilty. Nonetheless, the charges remained on his record. He felt that he had lost job opportunities when prospective employers ran a background check. Our attorney was able to get the expungement done quickly just in time for his next job interview.

Description Mortgage foreclosure rates are at an all time high, and the court dockets are stuffed full of foreclosure suits. Our staff is adept at responding to families who are homeless or at the brink of homelessness because of a housing crisis. Our work includes helping families transition to other housing or stay in their homes through eviction defense and helping those in foreclosure with work out agreements, with protecting their assets, or transitioning to other housing without intermittent homelessness.
Category Human Services, General/Other
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent,
Program Short Term Success
Low income renters/owners of affordable homes who are at risk of losing their homes will be aware of their legal options to retain their housing and avoid homelessness.
Program Long term Success

Through legal intervention familes or individuals have their foreclosures or evictions stopped and remain in their homes.

Program Success Monitored By

Program success is monitored by collecting demographic, income and outcome information by client that is stored in an extensive database and monitoring the results annually through analyzing the results compared to targeted projections.


Examples of Program Success

A couple with a set of young twins was facing foreclosure. They had submitted two loan packets to the lender seeking a loan modification. Their file ended up in the collections department. The loan company had not helped the couple attempt to work out a solution even though the company should have. After review, at attorney determined that the loan was through FHA, and that there were loss mitigation possibilities. With Legal Aid’s assistance, the couple resubmitted a plan and stayed in touch with the lender on a weekly basis. They are currently in a Trial Plan which reduced their payment by $224.00. They are happy with the reduction in the payment and are confident they can sustain their monthly expenses and that the trial modification will become permanent.

We help the elderly get access to health care and prescription drugs through Medicare advocacy targeted toward the low income senior citizens in our communities. We also help vulnerable nursing home victims stay in their homes when they are about to be unlawfully discharged. A cadre of lay volunteers that we recruit and train assists us with this effort.
In 2013, we will add the VIP Veteran's Legal Services Program through which we will provide legal services to vulnerable low income veterans. The services include those designed to help them meet their basic needs and promote self-sufficiency. Some discharge upgrade legal work is included. Our private Bar partners will join us in serving those who have served our country.
Category Human Services, General/Other
Population Served Elderly and/or Disabled, ,
Program Short Term Success
People will be aware of the public benefits, including Medicare and its programs developed for the low income elderly population, to acess health care and prescription medications.
Program Long term Success
People will receive the resources necessary to access medical care.
Program Success Monitored By
Program success is monitored by collecting demographic, income and outcome information by client that is stored in an extensive database and monitoring the results annually through analyzing the results compared to targeted projections.
Examples of Program Success

Jim suffered from a rare late stage cancer and contacted us when his primary care doctor would not see him because of a Medicare bill dispute arising from mistaken identity. Medicare had refused to pay his medical bills saying he had been in a car accident and the car insurance was responsible for his bills. Jim had not had an accident but his adult son had. Our attorney worked with the Medicare Coordination of Benefits Coordinator and the Secondary Payor contractor to get the issue resolved so that Medicare would authorize payment to his doctor. Although Jim was terminally ill, he had been unable to see his doctor for more than 6 months because he could not work through the complex rules and red tape. We gave him the opportunity to access the health care benefits to which he was entitled at the most difficult time in his life and ease his mind that he would not leave his wife with medical bills she could not pay.


Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Management Succession Plan? Under Development
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
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, 2017
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2017
Projected Revenue $4,230,117.00
Projected Expenses $4,699,912.00
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 Year201520142013
Total Revenue$4,352,970$4,158,003$3,839,438
Total Expenses$4,102,109$3,882,080$3,667,854
Revenue Less Expenses$250,861$275,923$171,584
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 Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$3,928,043$3,647,577$3,381,835
Individual Contributions$97,961$235,177$150,110
Investment Income, Net of Losses$308$382$464
Membership Dues--$0$0
Special Events--$0$0
Revenue In-Kind--$50,247$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$3,529,050$3,343,441$3,166,780
Administration Expense$440,284$439,825$397,014
Fundraising Expense$132,775$98,814$104,060
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.061.071.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses86%86%86%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue3%2%3%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$3,147,827$3,032,198$2,294,051
Current Assets$1,745,575$1,592,986$1,397,694
Long-Term Liabilities$640,501$750,167$292,104
Current Liabilities$343,435$369,001$364,840
Total Net Assets$2,163,891$1,913,030$1,637,107
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 $1,000,692, 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