Cy Pres

What are Cy Pres Awards? 

The word “Cy Près” comes from the Cy Près doctrine, which is a legal doctrine that governs the distribution of funds from a charitable trust or estate. Most often, Cy Près awards come from trusts established by settlements in class action lawsuits.  

Once the funds from these trusts are distributed to settling parties, the court may decide whether or not the original or intended purpose of the trust can still be achieved. If it’s determined that it cannot be, the Cy Près doctrine allows individual counsel to direct the remaining monies to charitable or non-profit organizations.  

Why choose Legal Aid of North Carolina? 

The most recent justice gap report published by Legal Services Corporation estimates that low-income southerners received little or no help for 92% of the civil legal problems they experienced. Of those surveyed, over 1/3 reported that they experienced 5 or more civil legal problems.  

At Legal Aid of NC, we know the enormous need for civil legal assistance. We closed more than 22,000 civil legal cases last year, yet the need far outweighs our capacity to serve with current funding. Charitable donations and Cy Pres Awards stretch our ability to provide desperately needed services and assist more callers across the state. 

As we are the only statewide civil legal services provider, awards to Legal Aid of North Carolina support access to justice and ensure that North Carolinians in need can receive help no matter where they live. With 13 special projects and offices across the state we turn these awards into immediate impact. In 2022 alone we generated over $16.6 million in benefits, awards, and savings for our clients and impacting 55,000 individuals. 

If you have any questions regarding Cy Près giving or Legal Aid of North Carolina’s eligibility as a receipt in a certain case, please contact our Director of Development Missy Hatley at

We thank you for considering Legal Aid of North Carolina as a nominee for a Cy Près award. 

2022 Cy Près gifts/recommending firms:

Maginnis Howard

Milberg, Coleman, Bryson, Phillips, Grossman PLLC 

Womble, Bond, Dickinson