Investing in Justice Campaign Sets New Records, Leverages Hundreds of Thousands More

Tens of thousands of people in need will receive critical legal assistance thanks to more than $1.51 million in individual contributions and many dedicated partners

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The 2017 CBF Investing in Justice Campaign set new records in individual donations while raising awareness and critical funding for pro bono and legal aid services in the Chicago area. 153 law firms, corporate legal departments and other law-related organizations participated in this year’s Campaign, which was chaired by Jesse H. Ruiz, partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. Nearly 5,100 individual attorneys and legal professionals contributed more than $1.51 million, both the highest amounts in the Campaign’s 11-year history.

Since 2007, the Investing in Justice Campaign has annually engaged thousands of individual lawyers and legal professionals throughout Chicago’s legal community to come together and contribute generously to help ensure that everyone has access to necessary legal help, not just people who can afford it. Over that time, the Campaign has more than doubled both in the number of donors and the amounts contributed. It is the largest campaign of its kind anywhere in the country, and has raised nearly $15 million to date.

I’m proud to be part of a legal community that shows such exemplary leadership on an issue that’s uniquely important to us as a profession, said Ruiz. With so many divisive issues in our country today, this is one where we come together strongly to say, €˜yes, everyone deserves equal access to justice, regardless of who they are or how much money they have.’ That’s a promise our country has made and one that we work to protect.

This year’s Campaign will yield more than $2.1 million in grants to more than 30 pro bono and legal aid organizations. Thanks to a number of generous matching contributions from participating firms and companies, the CBF is able to dedicate 100% of the individual contributions to the Campaign towards these grants and to leverage more than $600,000 in additional funding from CBF foundation and government partners through the Campaign grants process.

Campaign grants fund a continuum of legal services, ranging from web-based information and resources to legal aid hotlines, advice desks and clinics, to extended legal representation and larger impact litigation and advocacy.

With more than half of low-income and disadvantaged people in the Chicago area unable to get often crucial legal help due to a shortage of resources, the Campaign grants play a key role in helping to bridge that gap. The tens of thousands of people receiving services made possible by the Campaign are the elderly, disabled individuals, veterans, children, domestic violence victims, people at risk of losing their homes, immigrants fleeing persecution and abuse, and many other people in need.