Equal Justice is a basic right that is fundamental to democracy in this State, and the integrity of this State and this State’s justice system depends on protecting and enforcing the rights of all people.

— Illinois Equal Justice Act, (30 ILCS 765/1 et seq.)


In passing the Illinois Equal Justice Act in 1999, the State of Illinois committed to protecting its citizens by guaranteeing access to the legal system. The Act recognized the State’s responsibility to provide financial support for legal aid services through the creation and funding of the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation.

The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF), a 501 c 3 tax exempt organization, distributes funding appropriated by the State to support not-for-profit legal aid programs. The funding for the IEJF, which comes through an appropriation through the Office of the Attorney General, directly helps families in crisis, victims of domestic violence and seniors facing abuse and financial exploitation. The IEJF supports innovative, cost-effective legal aid programs that empower clients to resolve legal issues and regain control of their lives. These programs offer information, guidance, advice, representation and tools to help clients understand the legal system and their rights within it.

On December 2, 2014, the Board of Directors unanimously approved grants to 16 non-profit organizations totaling $1,330,584. To see a list of all our grants, click here.

The state appropriation for civil legal aid fell victim to the state budget impasse in fiscal year 2016. No state funds were provided for civil legal aid services in FY 16.