IEJF Marks 20 Years of Improving Lives through Legal Aid
The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, having helped nearly 600,000 Illinois residents access the justice system and improve their lives. Since 2000, IEJF-funded programs have kept people in their homes during the foreclosure crisis, recovered funds for seniors victimized by consumer scams, reduced domestic violence and helped veterans secure hard-earned benefits.
“The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation has been an invaluable partner to the state of Illinois over the past 20 years. The IEJF has helped hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents access the legal help they need in tough times and gain greater stability and financial independence,” said Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Funding for the IEJF comes through the Illinois Attorney General’s budget.
As the COVID-19 crisis has led to a surge of civil legal problems, the work of the IEJF is even more critical to Illinois communities. “The IEJF’s support of legal aid programs provides a lifeline for families facing foreclosure or eviction, women and children victimized by domestic violence and workers struggling to access critical benefits,” said Lauren Meachum, IEJF board president. “As Illinois continues to deal with the fallout from COVID-19, our grantees are an essential part of our state’s response and recovery.”
In addition to funding legal aid programs across Illinois, the IEJF has also created two major initiatives: the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN), a one-stop shop where veterans and military personnel can obtain free legal help; and New Leaf Illinois, a statewide cannabis expungement network where people with past cannabis convictions can get legal assistance to clear their records and remove major barriers to employment and housing.
In our newsletters this year, we’ll share quotes from key supporters and grantees about the IEJF’s impact. Here’s a few to kick things off: