Illinois Bar Foundation
The November Member Spotlight shines on the Illinois Bar Foundation.
The Illinois Bar Foundation’s mission is to ensure meaningful access to the justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who can no longer care for themselves due to incapacity.
About the Organization
In 1951, several leaders from the Illinois State Bar Association recognized a need for a statewide charitable and philanthropic organization and thus created the Illinois Bar Foundation. Initially, their focus was to provide aid to Illinois bar members who, because of age or infirmity, could no longer provide for their own care or support. Since its founding, the foundation has expanded its scope of service to include meaningful access to the justice system for all, especially for those with limited means.
Today the Foundation supports a handful of projects and resources that give back to their community. On top of these projects, the foundation funds several different special projects and initiatives. These include Illinois Free Legal Answers at the Public Interest Law Initiative, COVID-19 Lawyer Care Relief Fund, M. Denny Hassakis Fund, Jason E. Bellows Fund, Rural Practice Initiative, and the Children’s Assistance Fund. You can read more about and see all of the funds supported here.
Grants and Charitable Activities
The Illinois Bar Foundation offers several grant opportunities.
The first are the Justice Grants. These grants support organizations around Illinois that provide meaningful access to the civil justice system, especially for those with limited means and those who are the most vulnerable. IBF utilizes three main objectives for these grants – to enhance the availability of civil legal aid to those of limited means, encourage pro bono legal work, and educate Illinois residents about their rights and responsibilities under the law. You can learn more about these grants here.
Along with these grant opportunities, the Illinois Bar Foundation also puts on several charitable events and activities.
When the pandemic paused the Illinois Bar Foundation’s plans for their October 2020, and then October 2021 Black Tie Gala, they pivoted with the assistance of their gracious honoree to host the event in May 2022. The evening was a great success and they were thrilled to bring everyone together once again, but they didn’t stop there, holding a themed event at a new venue in October 2022: A Night in Monte Carlo. Between the two Galas, they are proud to say they raised over $850,000 in support of access to justice & lawyers care programs!
These vital funds will support the Illinois Bar Foundation’s access to justice grantmaking program and our lawyers care program, which offers financial aid to attorneys and their families dealing with debilitating health crises that make them temporarily or permanently unable to practice law. Through these programs, they have been able to serve over 50,000 individuals throughout the state of Illinois, providing assistance they would otherwise be unable to obtain. You can learn more about this program, the Warren Lupel Lawyers Care Fund, here.
Staff and Leadership
The Illinois Bar Foundation Leadership Team consists of 7 Officers of the Board and 23 Directors of the Board. There are also 4 members of the Foundation staff. You can see their full Leadership Team here.