(CHICAGO)…. The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF) presented Attorney General Kwame Raoul with its 2022 Champion of Justice Award at its Annual Meeting today.  Attorney General Raoul was singled out for the honor because of his dedication to protecting the legal rights of Illinois’ most vulnerable residents and advocacy for increased state funding of legal aid.

“Attorney General Raoul has been an incredible partner in helping lower-income Illinoisans access our justice system. During this last budget session, his advocacy was essential to increasing the state appropriation for civil legal aid to $4 Million,” said Kendric Cobb, president of the IEJF Board of Directors.  “Thanks to his leadership, more Illinoisans will be able to get legal help to stay in their homes, secure health care and keep their families together.”

“The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation provides critical support so that our most vulnerable residents can exercise their right to legal representation during extremely stressful, and frequently overwhelming, points in their lives,” Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “Access to legal aid is a fundamental right that should not depend upon a person’s ability to pay. I am extremely grateful for this honor and look forward to my continued partnership with the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation as we work toward equity in our justice system.”

At the event, Illinois’ legal, civic and government leaders also celebrated the growth and impact of the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation.  Since its first grant cycle in 2000, the IEJF has awarded more than $40 million in state grants to fund programs that help struggling families, seniors, children in custody cases, veterans, and people victimized by the criminalization of cannabis.  The IEJF currently manages five separate state appropriations for legal aid, including the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network, Eviction Help Illinois and New Leaf Illinois.

The IEJF was created in 1999 through the Illinois General Assembly’s passage of the Equal Justice Act, which recognized the State’s responsibility to provide equal access to the justice system by funding civil legal aid programs.

Click here to learn more about the IEJF.