Our Impact in FY23

January 16. 2024

A Message from FY2022-23 President Sandra Crawford.

View and download the FY23 impact report in full here.

This past Fiscal Year 2022-23 was, more than most, a year of catching up.  Not just catching up on missed opportunities to host fund raising events and honor deserving colleagues, but also to catch up with each other in person, after too long apart.  This year IBF held events in Arlington Heights, Collinsville, Springfield, Joliet, and Chicago – giving us the broadest statewide reach in our recent history.  In this year’s Impact Report, we’ll reflect on where the past year took us and those individuals and firms who are making our continued journey possible.

In the true spirit of catching up, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to honor several dedicated leaders who got us through the heights of the pandemic with two Presidential Receptions.  The first, in Arlington Heights, honored Anna P. Krolikowska, ISBA President 2021-22, and Lisa M. Nyuli, IBF President 2020-22.  We are grateful that both Anna and Lisa have long histories of service the IBF.  For the second reception, we traveled south to Collinsville to honor “ISBA Zoom President” Dennis J. Orsey, ISBA President 2020-21.  The Collinsville reception also posthumously honored Jack Carey, ISBA Past President and Charter and Diamond Champion of the IBF.  Each of these bar leaders has played a vital role in the ISBA becoming the organization it is today.

October 2022 brought us our second of two Galas.  The Fall themed Gala was “A Night in Monte Carlo”., honoring Patricia C. Bobb.  This sparkling soiree was held at Morgan Manufacturing in the West Loop and offered faux gambling, champagne towers, dancing to live music and, of course, the wonderful company of all gathered to raise vital funds for our access to justice and lawyers care programs.  The first 2022 Gala took place in May at the Four Seasons and honored Tim Eaton.  Jointly these two Galas brought in a record number of donations – for which we are grateful to our loyal sponsors, Champions and friends who stuck with us through the pandemic years when we were unable to meet in large groups. For this, the IBF is grateful and is able to continue its over 70 years of service.

Our December 2022 Champions Breakfast honoring former IBF President Justice Debra B. Walker and Kevin Conway of Cooney & Conway was the most successful Mid-Year Breakfast in IBF history.  Our March Lawyers Rock fundraiser at Bottom Lounge in Chicago brought new bands to the stage for our annual lawyer-led battle of the bands.  May brought us to Springfield where we partnered with our friends at the Illinois Judges Foundation (IJF) to host our Legal Luminary Awards Reception.   The event was held in the Illinois State Library, steps from the state’s beautiful capitol and across the street from the Illinois Supreme Court.  The IJF/IBF honored six senior members of the bench and bar.  All these individuals’ careers and lives exemplify excellence in our profession and dedication to their communities. We capped off the Bar year with a trip to Joliet for an IBF Champions Reception.  The honorees were Supreme Court Justice Mary Kay O’Brien and the Honorable Vincent F. Cornelius, IBF & ISBA Past President. They were each recognized and honored for their steadfast support of the work of the Illinois Bar Foundation and to access to justice.

In this Report, you will learn how the funds raised from all our events, as well as the generous annual contributions from our Champions, from firm and individual donors, and from the very special firms who recommend us for cy pres awards, made a difference in the lives of more than 52,000 Illinoisans.  Our Access to Justice grantee organizations will share stories of how our thoughtful and targeted grantmaking has allowed them to offer legal aid services and resources to Illinois residents who need it the most: those who are victims of domestic violence, families facing eviction, asylum seekers, and clients struggling with a civil legal issue who cannot afford a private attorney.

This Report also highlights:

-The IBF’s reimagined Law School Clinics Program, which provides grants to law schools around Illinois. These grants increase access to justice while helping law students and young lawyers hone skills and develop professionally while working, under supervision, on real legal matters and court cases.

-The innovative Illinois JusticeCorps program. This program expanded in FY23 and now serves a record 16 courthouses around the state.  It places volunteers in courthouses around Illinois to help people without lawyers navigate the civil justice system. Volunteers are trained and supported to provide legal information and procedural guidance, as well as connect self-represented litigants with legal aid services and self-help resources. The program provides a unique opportunity to gain exposure to the court system, build professional skills, and give back to the community.

-The IBF’s Warren Lupel Lawyers Care Fund.  It is the only statewide program of its kind offering financial aid to attorneys struggling with devastating medical issues that have left them unable to work.  You will hear from beneficiaries, in their own words, how the Fund helped them and their families when they experienced difficult times.

Thank you for making the work of the IBF possible, this year and every year. We can’t wait to see what we will do together over the next 70 years!

Sandra Crawford

IBF President 2022-23

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