Thanking Illinois’ Legal Aid Champion
During her tenure as Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan has been a tremendous champion for state funding for civil legal aid. After being struck by the fact that Illinois ranks 9th out of the 10 most populous states in legal aid funding, General Madigan welcomed the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation into her Office’s budget in fiscal year 2006 and became a staunch advocate for increased funding.
A Track Record of Support
In 2012, General Madigan’s Office played a lead role in litigation that resulted in the National Foreclosure Settlement. Illinois received $105.8 million in the settlement and General Madigan dedicated $20 million to civil legal aid and $5 million to mediation services to assist impacted homeowners and renters.
In 2015, the Attorney General’s Office was involved in a national consumer case and directed $7.2 million in settlement award funds to the IL Equal Justice Foundation to support its operations and grants program. The timing of this gift coincided with the beginning of the state budget crisis. While other social services programs were forced to shut their doors, legal aid organizations soldiered on assisting vulnerable families, seniors and veterans in civil legal crisis thanks to the generosity and foresight of General Madigan.
Most recently, General Madigan welcomed the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network funding into her budget, a second grant fund distributed by the IL Equal Justice Foundation.
A Word from Legal Aid Grantees
A few IEJF grantees share how her vision and advocacy has helped people struggling to make ends meet access the justice system.
“With Attorney General Madigan’s support, Land of Lincoln was able to ensure that homeowners weren’t steamrolled by banks during the foreclosure process but had the opportunity to apply and be meaningfully reviewed for workout options to save their homes. Many central and southern Illinoisans enjoy stable lives in their own homes as a result of Attorney General Madigan’s attention to the foreclosure crisis and her funding of civil legal aid.”
-Clarissa Goff, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation
“Over the past dozen years the funding provided to LAF by the Attorney General has allowed us to change thousands of lives for the better by saving homes and stabilizing communities throughout Chicago and greater Cook County.”
-Daniel Lindsey, LAF
“To say this grant was a wonderful opportunity for the Dispute Resolution Institute and our staff is an understatement. We were an organization with just one paid employee for the previous four years and this funding came right when we were ready to expand. More importantly, it provided important support to each homeowner we were able to work with throughout the grant term.”
-Missy Greathouse, Dispute Resolution Institute
It is no exaggeration to say that Lisa Madigan has served as a lifeline for civil legal aid access and funding in Illinois. On behalf of the legal aid community, we thank her for her leadership.
Pictured: Leslie Corbett, IEJF Executive Director and Attorney General Lisa Madigan pose together at the Public Interest Law Initiative’s annual luncheon, where Madigan was honored with the Distinguished Public Service Award. Photo credit, Bill Richert.