Prairie State Legal Services has sought to preserve and expand services to people in need by building a strong foundation of support from a variety of funding sources. Much of our funding comes from the federally-funded Legal Services Corporation. Prairie State is also funded by the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, The United Way, Area Agencies on Aging, many state, federal, and local funders, and private contributions.
Please see our Annual Reports page for a complete list of funding organizations and private donors.
Legal Services Corporation
LSC is the single largest provider of civil legal aid for the poor in the nation. Established by Congress in 1974, LSC operates as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that promotes equal access to justice and provides grants for high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. Funding is distributed based on the number of persons living below the federal poverty level according to the last U.S Census. Recipients of LSC funds must abide by various federal laws and regulations governing LSC grantees.
Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois
The Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois is a not-for-profit corporation formed in 1981. The Lawyers Trust Fund is the beneficiary and administrator of the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. The IOLTA program allows interest to be earned on nominal or short-term client deposits held in lawyers' pooled trust accounts. The interest is paid directly to the Lawyers Trust Fund and used to contribute funds for providing civil legal assistance to the poor throughout Illinois and for programs specifically approved by the Supreme Court of Illinois that benefit the public.
Illinois Equal Justice Foundation
The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF), a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, distributes funding appropriated by the State to support not-for-profit legal aid programs. The funding for the IEJF, which comes through an appropriation through the Office of the Attorney General, directly helps families in crisis, victims of domestic violence and seniors facing abuse and financial exploitation. The IEJF supports innovative, cost-effective legal aid programs that empower clients to resolve legal issues and regain control of their lives. These programs offer information, guidance, advice, representation and tools to help clients understand the legal system and their rights within it. In 2009, the IEJF awarded over $3.3 million to 22 organizations across the state that serve the civil legal needs of the poor. The State of Illinois cut this funding in half in 2010.
Prairie State is proud to be a United Way agency and encourages your support of the United Way in your community. Prairie State receives generous support from thirty United Ways throughout our service area. Combined, these United Ways provided our third largest source of funding in 2009. Local community and buisness leaders determine the funding that is awarded to each funded agency or program. Prairie State provides each United Way with data to show the impact of the legal services provided in each area.
Please see our Annual Reports page for a list of all United Ways supporting PSLS.
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
Prairie State has been selected by local community planning groups (Continuum of Care) to provide legal services for homeless residents to improve their stability and secure the resources needed to provide for their housing using HUD funds specifically for services for homeless (Lake and DuPage Counties). Planning groups from the Northwestern Illinois Continum of Care (COC), Central Illinois COC, Kane County COC, McHenry County COC, Lake County COC and DuPage County COC selected Prairie State to receive HUD federal stimulus dollars to provide legal services to prevent eviction. Prairie State has also received targeted HUD grants for Fair Housing Education and Outreach.
Area Agencies on Aging
There are five Area Agencies on Aging in the Prairie State Service area and each provides vital financial support for legal services for persons aged 60 and older. This funding comes from the Older Americans’ Act. Legal services are focused on helping older adults in the greatest social and economic need.
Central Illinois Agency on Aging www.ciaoa.com
East Central Illinois AAA www.eciaaa.org
Northwestern Illinois AAA www.nwilaaa.org
Northeastern Illinois AAA www.ageguide.org
Western Illinois AAA www.wiaaa.org
U.S Department of Justice provides funding that enables Prairie State to expand its services for low income victims of domestic violence. Through a grant under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) which was awarded by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Prairie State was able to establish a courthouse based domestic violence legal services program based in the Kane County Judicial Center. This project serves victims seeking emergency legal services. A grant under the Violence Against Women Act enabled PSLS to expand its legal services for low income victims to provide more holistic legal relief.
Please see our Annual Reports page or a complete list of all of granting organizations
Federal funding for legal services for the poor was cut significantly in the mid 1990’s and, although it was briefly restored in recent years, it has not kept pace with inflation. In response to the volatility of federal and state funding, the Board of Directors launched in 1997 the Campaign for Legal Services, a fundraising initiative directed at the private bar. Today, more than one thousand individuals and organizations support the Campaign for Legal Services each year.
Please see our Annual Reports page for a complete list of donors.