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Illinois Bar Foundation

lincoln-legacybw1The Illinois Bar Foundation announces the launch of its Lincoln Legacy Society, created exclusively to honor and recognize individuals who have agreed to support the Foundation's vision to be the statewide leader in advancing justice in Illinois by providing for the Foundation in his or her estate plan. Abraham Lincoln, the state's most famous lawyer, left an indelible mark on the Illinois legal system. So too will Lincoln Legacy Society members leave their mark on the legal system through their legacy gifts to the Illinois Bar Foundation. Become a Charter Member Through membership in the Lincoln Legacy Society, the Foundation extends its warm appreciation to individuals who make known their thoughtful estate gift intentions. Your enrollment now permits the Foundation can thank you, not your executor or trustee, for your generosity and thoughtfulness. Your gift may also inspire others if you will allow us to include your name on the Lincoln Legacy Society Membership List. Notify the Foundation today to become a Charter Member. "When I read about the Lincoln Legacy Society, I immediately felt that this was a perfect program for me. I had saved money for my family, planned and saved money for college education for my child and realized that the important things for me personally were well in hand. So, helping build a legacy for the work of the Illinois Bar Foundation was a logical extension of planning.
By Bethany Krajelis Law Bulletin staff writer SPRINGFIELD - After more than 50 years of helping the legal community, the Illinois Bar Foundation is looking ahead with a new vision. Originally formed to provide financial assistance to lawyers in need, the IBF expanded its scope over the years, but recently narrowed it in hopes of making more of an impact on the cash-strapped world of legal aid. This new focus was announced in the IBF's annual report, which provides an overview of the group's work in 2009 and an outline of a revamped strategic plan designed to lead the foundation through 2012. Susan M. Lewers, executive director for IBF, said the group's objectives are: to increase the availability of legal aid, encourage pro bono legal work, educate residents about the law and to continue providing financial assistance to lawyers in need. "We are excited about the new objectives and future of the foundation," Lewers said. "We hope lawyers see value in our new strategic plan and invest in the foundation so we can do this as a community." The increased focus on legal aid was the result of a feasibility study conducted in 2006 to determine the foundation's chances of reaching a multi-million fundraising goal. Lawyers across the state were asked how likely they would be to donate to such a major fundraising campaign, and feedback showed that lawyers wanted the foundation "to find our stake in the ground," Lewers said. Two years and several drafts later, the foundation's new objectives were created as a way to let donors know exactly what the IBF's goals were, said Russell K. Scott, a Belleville attorney who chairs the group's long-range planning committee. "It become a labor of love for the foundation," Scott said. "I see it as something we can really rally around." Scott said the group's goal to increase its focus on legal aid was an easy decision to make, especially as state budget cuts and a tough economy have hurt legal aid providers. Lewers said in order to meet their objective, the group plans on creating partnerships with various legal aid providers to come up with solutions to some of the problems the field has and continues to face.
[gallery link="file" columns="2"] The Illinois Bar Foundation Fellows honored James F. Holderman, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois, and Nancy Katz, Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, at the group's annual breakfast Friday at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. Judge Holderman received the Honorary Fellow Award from his wife, ISBA Board of Governors member Paula Holderman. Chief Judge Holderman has been a U.S. District Judge in Chicago since 1985, and has been the Chief Judge of the Northern District of Illinois since 2006. During his more than 20 years on the bench, he has presided over numerous cases in all areas of federal jurisdiction. Judge Katz received the Distinguished Service to Law & Society Award from her cousin, IBF past president David Sosin. Judge Katz was appointed to the bench in 1999 and is currently assigned to the Domestic Relations Division, where she presides over an individual calendar. She frequently speaks and trains lawyers, judges and law students in the areas of civil and family law.
ibf-annual-report-cover The 2008-2009 Annual Report of the Illinois Bar Foundation is now available. The Annual Report highlights the charitable activities of the Foundation and includes a list of donors whose support made these activities possible. The Foundation distributed more than $325,000 to not for profit organizations promoting justice in our state, contributed almost $100,000 to 13 lawyers and their families in financial distress due to medical issues and participated in two joint charitable ventures with the ISBA. "We are proud to say that the IBF has maintained fiscal stability during what has been perhaps the most tumultuous economy decline of the Foundation's existence," said IBF President Vincent F. Cornelius. "Over the course of the last year the Foundation still awarded more than $450,000 in direct assistance." Visit to view the Annual Report online. Call (312) 726-6072 to request a printed copy. As the charitable affiliate of the Illinois State Bar Association, 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 support themselves due to incapacity. This past year, through the support of ISBA members, IBF distributed more than $450,000 to support these efforts.
Equip for Equality, which is funded in part by a $20,000 grant from the Illinois Bar Foundation, was part of a case recently featured in U.S. News & World Report. The case involved whether an autistic boy in Villa Grove, Ill., could bring his service dog, Chewey, to school.
Margie Wakelin, an attorney who works with the Chicago-based Equip for Equality and who represented the Drew family, says that service animals are becoming more common as more is learned about the benefits that they can offer in assisting people with a range of mental disabilities—not just autism. "The animals allow the person to better segue into relating with other people," she says.
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Vince Cornelius, John Cullerton and Mike Monico
IBF Board President Vince Cornelius, State Sen. President John Cullerton and Awards Presenter Michael Monico
More than 430 people attended the 11th Annual Gala to show their commitment to the Foundation and recognize the 2009 Recipient of the Distinguished Award for Excellence, Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton, on Oct. 16 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. Thanks to everyone who supported the event, the IBF met or exceeded every goal for the 2009 Gala, netting more than $230,000. These important funds will be used to help support the Foundation and the many grantee organizations and individuals who receive financial assistance. Oh, What a Night! There was definitely a feeling of excitement in the air that evening. Guests at the sold-out event were given the opportunity to bid on 5 different Live Auction items, and more than 90 Silent Auction items, including a variety of vacation stays, jewelry, wine, artwork, sports memorabilia and sports and concert tickets. Some of the highlights of the Live Auction were a trip for two to the 2010 Masters Tournament Final Rounds, a trip for two to Barcelona, Spain, and a legal letter that was signed by Abraham Lincoln during his days with the firm of Logan & Lincoln. Open space was scarce in the crowded auction area but nobody seemed to mind as they enjoyed specialty martinis and champagne cocktails from the Martini Bar. Bidding was done on computerized terminals that allowed Gala volunteers to carry the terminals around the ballroom, updating the guests on their bids, which encouraged some very competitive bidding wars.  In addition to the two auctions, raffle tickets could be purchased for $100 each for the chance to win either a Trip for Two to San Francisco and Sonoma, CA, a 55" Samsung LCD TV, or $2,500 in cash. Surprisingly, one person was the lucky winner of two of the prizes after purchasing only two tickets; Brian Monico won the San Francisco trip and the $2,500, while Tom Else, an IBF Board member, was the lucky winner of the Samsung TV.
While I admit that I may be biased, I believe that this was our best Gala in recent memory. - Vince Cornelius, IBF Board President.
The evening's program was kicked off by Board Gala Chair and IBF Silver Fellow Shawn Kasserman of Corboy & Demetrio, who recognized and thanked the two Gala Co-Chairs, Barry Montgomery of Williams, Montgomery & John, and Lorna Propes of Propes and Kaveny, as well as the rest of the Committee members. Brief remarks from ISBA President John O'Brien and IBF Board President Vince Cornelius kept the program moving. Perry Browder of the Simmons Firm, Gala Vice Chair and an IBF Board Member, was introduced as the 2010 Board Gala Chair. After a four-course meal and the Award Presentation by Michael Monico of Monico, Pavich and Spevack to Senator Cullerton, who attended with his wife Pam and family, guests remained to dance to the music of the Ken Arlen Orchestra and find out which items they'd be taking home. All in all, a wonderful time was had by everyone present. Most importantly, with the assistance of these funds the Foundation will continue to move forward in its mission to serve the people of Illinois by ensuring meaningful access to the justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who can no longer support themselves due to incapacity.
Tonight is about the work we do and the efforts we make to ensure that justice is fair for everyone in Illinois. For each of you, I commend your work...I thank you for your charitable efforts and continued work throughout the year. Each dollar you contribute to the works of this Foundation is an investment in the goal to make the idea of freedom truly work. - Sen. John Cullerton during his award speech.

Please save the date for the 2010 Gala on Friday, October 15, 2010!
IBF Board member Shawn Kasserman (right) of Chicago presents a $20,000 check to Lisa Colpoys, Illinois Legal Aid Online Executive Director.
The Illinois Bar Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce a $20,000 grant to Illinois Legal Aid Online, one of 32 grants awarded this year totaling $304,995.
yldholidayparty09The Illinois State Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division will host its 12th Annual Holiday Party to benefit the Illinois Bar Foundation/Young Lawyer's Division Children's Assistance Program on Dec. 4 from 6-10 p.m. at the Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison. Over $150,000 has been raised to establish children's waiting rooms throughout Illinois and to provide assistance to other child related legal programs. The YLD Children's Assistance Fund is a special fund of the Illinois Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable entity.
  • When: Friday, December 4, 2009, 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
  • Where: The Cubby Bear Wrigleyville 1059 W. Addison (map and directions)
  • What: Complimentary Cover Charge, Open Bar, Appetizers, and LIVE MUSIC
  • Cost: $35.00 per person for tickets purchased through November 20 $30.00 per law student for tickets purchased through November 20 $40.00 after November 20 and at the door per person and per law student
  • Deadline to register online: December 2
IBF Board Member Caesar Tabet of Chicago presents a $5,000 grant check to Brendan Short of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago.
The Illinois Bar Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce a $5,000 grant to Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago, one of 32 grants awarded in 2009 totaling $304,995. The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law champions economic opportunity through fair laws and policies so that people can move out of poverty permanently. Their attorneys and advocates engage in a wide range of activities, including policy development, impact litigation, community organizing, education, information sharing, and administrative, legislative and media advocacy. While the organization is national is scope, many of the programs it operates focus exclusively on Illinois and it translates those experiences to the national level. This grant specifically supports its Safe Homes Initiative. According to the US Department of Justice, women living in rental housing experience intimate partner violence at three times the rate of women who own their homes. Illinois' Safe Homes Act permits a victim of domestic violence who lives in rental housing to break her lease early or request an emergency lock change if she believes there is an imminent threat of domestic violence against herself or her family.
IBF Board Member Richard Zuckerman of Peoria presents a $5,000 grant to Martha Herm, Executive Director of the Center For Prevention of Abuse and Nancy Wright, President of its Board of Directors.
IBF Board Member Richard Zuckerman of Peoria presents a $5,000 grant to Martha Herm, Executive Director of the Center For Prevention of Abuse and Nancy Wright, President of its Board of Directors.
The Illinois Bar Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce a $5,000 grant to The Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria, one of 32 grants awarded this year totaling $304,965. The Center for the Prevention of Abuse is the only agency in the state of Illinois to provide combined services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse. The Center provides a range of comprehensive programming which includes court advocacy, emergency shelter and transitional housing, crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, advocacy, therapy, education and other support services. The $5,000 grant was made to support the salary of a part time court advocate at the Tazewell County Courthouse. The Court Advocacy program assists clients seeking legal recourse under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act by petitioning the court for an Order of Protection.