One on One with Gery Chico, IEJF Board Member
Gery Chico joined the IEJF Board in 2015 and serves as one of its primary advocacy strategists. Gery has had an impressive legal career spanning both the private and public sectors. Since 2004, he has served as a Senior Partner of Chico & Nunes. He has also served as the Chairman of the IL State Board of Education and President of Board of Trustees of the Chicago Public Schools.
You’ve served on the boards of many major civic and government institutions. What drew you to the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF) Board?
The IEJF is special in the support given to legal aid organizations that serve the elderly and low income persons in our state. The IEJF also provides support to organizations that serve veterans; I am very proud of our efforts there. Our board includes a broad cross-section of attorneys and business people who are passionate about ensuring that everyone has access to legal representation, despite their means. As an attorney I can think of nothing more important.
As you have visited legal aid organizations, what stands out to you the most about their work?
I’ve had a chance to see first-hand the dedication and commitment of nonprofit legal services groups in helping their constituents pursue claims and defend themselves from predatory practices. The organizations we fund are deeply committed over the long run in making sure that everyone can receive representation and justice.
What is the role of the IEJF Board and what unique perspective do you bring to it?
The IEJF is fortunate to have many dedicated Board members who work hard advocating for resources to support legal aid groups in Illinois. Not everyone understands what we do and how important legal aid groups are in our communities. Our board members also educate those in the legislature and the public about how important it is for everyone to have access to legal services. I hope that my background in business, law, government and nonprofit organizations allows me to bring a different perspective to our discussions and funding decisions.
As a life-long Chicagoan, what is your favorite thing about the city?
My wife and I have lived in Chicago throughout our lives. The best part about Chicago is its “can do” spirit that you see in our different neighborhoods, cultures and ethnicities. People want to be in Chicago because they and their families can reach their potential and have a great quality of life.