We’re excited to announce that Open Door Legal is one of the newest grantees of the Draper Richards Kaplan (“DRK”) Foundation. The DRK Foundation was founded on a belief in the power of innovation and the conviction that with bold support, passionate individuals with great ideas can change the world.

The DRK Foundation operates as a global venture philanthropy firm supporting early stage, high impact, high growth social enterprises with three years of support including a $300,000 grant and participation on the organization’s board of directors.
Founded in 2002, the DRK Foundation has funded over 127 social entrepreneurs operating both domestically and internationally. Some of the earlier organizations supported by Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation include Room to Read, Kiva, Grassroots Soccer, One Acre Fund, Food Corp and many others.

Open Door Legal is the first legal services nonprofit the DRK Foundation has ever funded.
We’re so grateful for the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation for believing in our mission, our team, our metrics, and our growth potential.

With all of us working together, we have no doubt that universal access to legal help is on the horizon. We imagine the day when all of us will enjoy the protection of the law.

For information about the DRK Foundation, please contact: Nancy Huang, Chief of Staff, nhuang@drkfoundation.org.

Ever since childhood, our co-founder Adrian has been dedicated to reducing poverty.

He studied systemic poverty in college and went to work in the field for a few years. Eventually, he had a thesis that legal aid was the most cost-effective way to address poverty in America. He wrote up a business plan and used it to apply to law school. 

The idea was to create the country’s first system of universal access to civil legal representation that ensures everyone can obtain timely, competent legal help for any legal issue, regardless of ability to pay. That had never been done before in the history of the United States.

In law school, he met Virginia, our Programs Director. Together, they co-founded the organization, two weeks after Adrian passed the bar.

When we opened we put a sign in the window, and with just that marketing and almost no other outreach we were overwhelmed with requests for help from people with good cases who had been turned away everywhere else.

Our first year we had revenue of $35,000. We would hand shred documents because a shredder was too expensive. Despite the financial challenges, we were able to work on over 280 cases in everything from housing law to family law to consumer law in the first year alone.

The hours were extreme, the pay was low, and the learning curve was steep. Still, we persisted. We knew that almost everyone we helped was not able to receive services anywhere else. Eventually, we attracted the interest of funders. We tripled our revenue for several years in a row. In 2015, we won the Bay Area Google Impact Challenge, which enabled us to expand even more. In 2019, we secured additional funding from the city that allowed us to open two new centers in the Excelsior and Western Addition.

As of 2020, our staff has grown to 27 full-time employees. We’ve shown that universal access is possible. Now, we plan to scale city-wide, make San Francisco the first city in the country’s history to have universal access to legal help, and become a model for national replication.