(CHICAGO) The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF), the not-for-profit entity responsible for distributing, monitoring and protecting the state appropriation for civil legal aid for low-income families and individuals, proudly announces its leadership team for fiscal year 2017.

At its Annual Meeting on June 22, 2016, the Board of Directors unanimously elected Richard M. Levin of Bank of America Merrill Lynch as President, Joseph Torres of Winston & Strawn as Vice President, Lauren Meachum of Law Offices of Meachum, Starck, Boyle & Trafman as Treasurer and Jennifer Shaw of the Shaw Law Group as Secretary.

The Board also elected two new members: Kathleen Gerdes of Harris Associates and Jaime Myers of Caterpillar Incorporated.

These new members join the officers listed above as well as the following Board directors: Dorothy Capers of National Express LLC; Christine Castellano of Ingredion Incorporated; Gery Chico Chico & Nunes PC; Kendric Cobb of Morton Salt; Margaret A. Daley of Berkeley Research Group; Keith Emmons of Meyer Capel; Nannette Fosen of State Farm Auto Insurance Company; Deborah Golden of GATX Corporation; Ron Gould of DLA Piper LLP; Sandra Pihos, retired state legislator; Joseph A. Strubbe of Vedder Price PC; and Margarite Wypychowski of NORC at the University of Chicago.

Two members retired this fiscal year.  A fond farewell was said to Daniel Broadhurst of Stout Risius Ross, Inc. and Joseph Q. McCoy of Bryan Cave LLP.

The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF) was founded in 1999 with the passage of the Illinois Equal Justice Act, which created a state appropriation for civil legal aid.  The IEJF administers and advocates for said appropriation in order to increase access to justice for all Illinoisans.  The IEJF funds civil legal aid programs across the state ensuring all residents, regardless of income, have equal access to the justice system for acute matters like domestic violence, foreclosure and financial exploitation.  Since its first grant cycle in 2001, the IEJF has awarded over $23.3 million in grants to nonprofit legal aid providers serving the critical civil legal needs of approximately 560,000 vulnerable Illinoisans.  These programs build stronger communities and a stronger Illinois.

The IEJF appropriation was negatively impacted by the state budget impasse.  No funding was appropriated in 2016.  Attorney General Lisa Madigan has requested $1.4 million for the civil legal aid appropriation in her fiscal year 2017 budget.

To learn more about the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, please visit www.iejf.org.