ALL ACCESS: BUILDING A FAIRER JUSTICE SYSTEM
IL Equal Justice Foundation Strategic Plan
We want to make it easier and more equitable for everyone to access and navigate our civil justice system, regardless of their age, religion, race, gender identity, heritage, sexual orientation, physical and mental abilities, and/or socioeconomic status.
More than twenty years ago, the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation was formed and distributed an annual state appropriation of just half a million to legal aid organizations in Illinois. Now in 2022, we are proud to manage four separate state appropriations, totaling more than $10 million in annual funding.
A Critical Juncture
This tremendous growth underscores our responsibility to more effectively address the ever-changing and increasing legal aid demands in Illinois in the years ahead.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated long-standing inequities in housing, employment and health care and fueled a tremendous need for legal aid. At the same time, our nation’s racial reckoning has made it urgently clear that as leaders in the legal aid community, we must do more to champion racial justice in our communities and inside our organization.
A FOUNDATION OF EQUITY
We recognize that structural barriers of all kinds impact people’s ability to access our justice system. As a major funder of Illinois’ legal aid programs, the IEJF is committed to leading the charge to help more low-income and marginalized Illinoisans gain access to the lifelines provided by existing law.
Moving forward, the IEJF will use an equity approach for all of its decision-making.
- Focusing on how marginalized communities, particularly communities of color, will be affected by the funding decisions we make.
- Engaging with these communities and key stakeholders to learn more about their experiences and viewpoints to better inform our work.
A ROADMAP FOR THE FUTURE
Through our Strategic Plan, we believe we can dismantle some of the barriers to justice so struggling Illinoisans can protect their rights, escape poverty, and transform their lives.