Why Donate?

By giving to East River Legal Services, you give hope to our communities most vulnerable citizens. For these people, justice is not an abstract concept, but reality. It is food, shelter, and protection. It is the difference between staying in poverty and getting out; living in danger or in safety; between dependence and self-reliance. East River Legal Services is dedicated to the belief that no one should be denied access to justice because of poverty.  Your support helps fight against systemic issues that contribute to the cycle of poverty in our community.

Your donation goes directly toward helping our clients and your neighbors. Your gift helps families avoid foreclosure. It helps children with health and education needs. It helps keep adult and children victims safe from abusive environments. It helps veterans and seniors receive the benefits they need and have earned. Your gift makes a difference right here in our community and in our neighborhoods.

ERLS is a charitable and tax-exempt organization as defined by IRS Code 501(c)(3). East River Legal Services retains 100% of contributions received.


*Personal information provided by donors to ERLS, including mailing addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses will not be accessible to, shared with, or sold to any other organization.


Q. What is East River Legal Services 'Fund a Need' initiative?

A. Fund a Need allows you to earmark a personalized donation to be used to support the work of East River Legal Services in a specific need category, that is important or meaningful to you.

Q. What are the client need categories I can donate to support through Fund a Need?

A. Currently, there are 7 need categories to choose from:

  • Protecting at-risk children from abuse, neglect, or abandonment, in court.
  • Obtaining income benefits for seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities.
  • Protecting the human right of individuals from human trafficking, violent crime, and family separations.
  • Preventing homelessness by defending families from eviction or foreclosure, or substandard housing.
  • Keeping domestic violence survivors safe through obtaining Protection Orders against abusers.
  • Providing clients with connections to local, state, and various other community resources to improve self-sufficiency and barriers affecting client success.
  • Helping homeless individuals connect with community resources and income benefits to aid in getting them housed and off the street.

Q. How do I donate?

A. You can mail a check payable to, “East River Legal Services” and send your donation to our mailing address:

335 N. Main Ave., Suite 200

Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Please write, “Fund a Need” on the notation line of your check and the need category selected (ex. “Fund a Need – Domestic Violence”).

Q. What size donation is required for Fund a Need?

A. There are no specific requirements, we welcome donations of any amount. You can select the amount you wish to give. For guidance, suggested donation amounts include $50, $100, $250, and $500.

Q. Will my donation be recognized publicly?

A. East River Legal Services greatly appreciates all gifts of any size to support its mission. All donors who donate $1,000 or more to our program will be listed as a member of our “Guardians of Justice.” Guardians of Justice members will be recognized on our website.

* Any donor who wishes to remain anonymous can contact us at info@erlservices.org

Q. How specifically will the donation be used by Legal Aid?

A. The donation will be applied as unrestricted funding to East River Legal Services to be used to support the costs of handling cases in the need category selected and for the staff members supporting those efforts.

Q. Why has Legal Aid created the Fund a Need initiative?

A. The demand for our critically important free legal services continues to rise, while traditional funding sources for East River Legal Services, such as Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds continue to decline. Your support is vitally important to ensure that ERLS is able to assist all clients in need, particularly in matters which affect their safety, health, or minimum economic security such as shelter. East River Legal Services served 1287 clients in 2023 and has already processed 2630 applications in 2024. With the reduction and/or discontinuation in funds, ERLS needs funding assistance more than ever.

Q. How can I learn more about supporting East River Legal Services?

A. Please feel free to contact East River Legal Services Executive Director, Lea Wroblewski, at (605) 336-9230 or by email at lea@erlservices.org


East River Legal Services is proud to introduce the Guardians of Justice, an annual membership program benefitting our program and the services we provide. Your membership in the Guardians of Justice will ensure that ERLS is able to continue its mission of, “Advancing equal access to justice for our most vulnerable citizens.”

The Guardians of Justice is not just for Attorneys. Anyone who is committed to the principles of equal justice and fairness is welcome to join and show their support.


Guardians of Justice Members will be recognized by East River Legal Services on its website, in its quarterly newsletter, on social media, and in our annual report.

Join the Guardians of Justice today with a minimum pledge of $1,000 and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Contact us to find out more, or call (605) 336-9230.



Matching Gifts

Charitable “gift matching” programs are relatively common, and many people are unaware whether their employer takes part in such a program. If your employer does participate in a charitable “gift matching” program, please consider leveraging their wonderful philanthropic tool to help East River Legal Services and their mission.

Unsure whether your employer takes part in this program? Simply ask your HR department whether they participate, and if so, for the matching gift form. Simply sign and submit your donation to ERLS; we will do the rest.

Corporate Partnerships

East River Legal Services prides itself on the partnerships it has formed in eastern South Dakota, particularly our partnership with local community organizations and the South Dakota Bar Association. Corporate partnerships are an effective way to demonstrate the philanthropic goals and corporate culture of an organization.



There are several ways to support East River Legal Services mission. Donations of time, money, and services; matching your employee’s contributions; sponsoring legal clinics and other events; and volunteering to serve on the ERLS board or one of our committees.

If your organization would like more information about how you can partner with East River Legal Services to ensure the safety, health, and minimum economic security of the needy in eastern South Dakota, please contact us.


Stocks and Securities

Stocks and securities may be given directly to East River Legal Services or used to fund charitable gifts annuities or charitable remainder trust. Donating stocks owned for one year or more may allow for a charitable deduction of the full fair market value of the stock, not just the original cost.

Donors may also realize additional tax savings by bypassing applicable capital gains taxes. This may result in significant savings, if the values of the stocks have substantially increased since it was purchased, for more information on how you can donate your stocks or securities to ERLS, please contact us.



IRA Rollovers

Individuals aged 70 1/2 or older may be eligible to transfer up to $100,0000 from their IRA directly to qualified charities, such as East River Legal Services, tax free. To find out if you may qualify for an IRA charitable rollover, please consult your financial advisor, and contact us for more information.


Bequests and Beneficiary Designations

A legacy donation to East River Legal Services will serve to perpetuate the value of fairness and equal justice long into the future. A planned gift to ERLS helps ensure the future of civil legal aid in eastern South Dakota, as it gives us an opportunity to plan for our further growth and development. Please consider supporting East River Legal Services by leaving a charitable gift through your will or trust agreement.

Memorials or Honorariums

Remember your loved ones with a gift in their honor. There are many opportunities to sponsor a program, legal clinic, or other events in the name of your loved ones.



East River Legal Services volunteers lend their time and expertise to specific programs or events. For more information on how you can volunteer to make ERLS more effective in its mission of “Advancing equal access to justice for our most vulnerable citizens” please contact us to discuss your interests and our needs. For information about volunteer service with Legal Aid, check out our Volunteer Opportunity Overview.

Planned Giving

For every donation you give, you help more people in need. Click the buttons below or scan to donate through PayPal or Venmo, or Mail a check to:

East River Legal Services

335 N. Main Ave. Suite 200

Sioux Falls, SD 57104

335 N. Main Ave. Suite 200, Sioux Falls, SD 57104



East River Legal Services

Copyright © ERLS 2024