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Are donations to Prairie State Legal Services tax-deductible?

Yes, contributions are tax-deductible; Prairie State Legal Services is a charitable organization under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).

Can I donate online?


Yes, online donations can be made by clicking the Donate button. For other types of gifts, please see Ways to Donate.

Can I make a donation in support of my local PSLS office?

When possible, Prairie State directs donations to the local service office in the community where the donations originate. You may direct your gift to an office outside of your community by indicating the office of your choice.

How are donations recognized?

All donations are recognized in the Annual Report. Donations made through the Campaign for Legal Services are often recognized at Campaign events, in bar association journals and sometimes in local newspapers. Gifts may be made in honor or in memory of friends, family or colleagues. Requests to remain anonymous are also honored.

Will I receive confirmation of my donation?

Each donation is acknowledged in a letter shortly after receipt of the gift. Every year in January we send each donor a summary of all gifts made by the donor in the previous year.

Prairie State Legal Services is a charitable not-for-profit organization and gifts are tax deductible under IRS section 501(c)(3). All gifts receive a written acknowledgement and donors are recognized in our Annual Report. Requests to remain anonymous are also honored. Individuals and groups that want to contribute to Prairie State Legal Services have many options. For questions about any of these methods of giving, please contact:
     Prairie State Administrative Office at (815) 965-2134.

Online Donations
Donate Online donations can be made by clicking the Donate button. You will be directed to the PSLS Donation Form, an easy and secure webpage where you can make a donation by credit card. The form allows you to donate one time or create a recurring deduction.

Check, Money Order, or Currency
A gift of cash is the easiest way for many people to contribute to Prairie State Legal Services. Gifts can be delivered to your local PSLS office, but for faster processing, you may wish to send your contribution directly to our Administrative Office at the address below.

Credit Card
We accept gifts made by VISA or Master Card. Please provide us with your credit card information and the amount you wish to give by using the pledge form at the link below. You may also contact us directly at (815) 965-2134.

You are welcome to make a pledge in support of Prairie State Legal Services. Just let us know the amount of your pledge, the length of your pledge (multi-year pledges are accepted) and how you prefer to pay the pledge. We recommend that you fill out the pledge form at the link below and mail it to our Administrative Office. You will receive a letter confirming the terms of your pledge.

For credit card gifts and pledges, please send this pledge form to our Administrative Office at the address below:
     Prairie State Legal Services
     Administrative Office
     303 North Main Street, Suite 600
     Rockford, IL 61101

Securities Gifts
Securities gifts are the transfer of stock, bonds, and other securities, especially those that have increased in value. For instructions on making a securities gift to Prairie State, please contact Prairie State Administrative Office at (815) 965-2134.

Matching-Gift Programs
An easy way to double or even triple your donation to Prairie State is to find out if your company has a matching-gift program. Such programs typically match all or a percentage of employee contributions to charitable organizations, making the employer a partner in employees' personal philanthropy. Simply obtain a matching-gift form from your employer's personnel office, fill it out, and provide it to PSLS with your contribution.

A bequest provision is a simple statement in your will that gives to Prairie State any one of the following:

  • A specific dollar amount,
  • A specified percentage of your estate,
  • A particular piece of real estate (such as a home or commercial building),
  • Valuable personal property, such as a work of art.

We are happy to help you with the language relating to a bequest.

Non-Cash Gifts
Non-cash gifts include real estate, artwork, vehicles, and other tangible personal property. In some cases these items can present special and sometimes unknown issues that make their acceptance problematic. As a result, non-cash gifts generally will be accepted by PSLS only if they can be easily and economically converted into cash for investment and/or expenditure in accordance with PSLS's established policies and procedures. Please contact us if you wish to make a non-cash gift.

Disclosure of LSC Prohibitions
Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. is funded, in part, by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). As a condition of the funding it receives from LSC, it is restricted from engaging in certain activities in all of its legal work -- including work supported by other funding sources. Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. may not expend any funds for any activity prohibited by the Legal Services Corporation Act, 42 U.S.C. 2996, et. seq., or by Public Law 104-134, §504(a). Public Law 104-134 §504(d) requires that notice of these restrictions be given to all funders of programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation. Please contact our Administrative Office at (815) 965-2134 for more information regarding these prohibitions.

Visit this link to view our Donor Privacy Policy.

Cy Pres

What is Cy Pres?

Cy pres is a French term which means "next best use". In a class action case (and sometimes bankruptcy and probate matters) where funds are unclaimed or cannot be distributed to all class members, the court must decide how to distribute the remaining funds. Under the cy pres principle, the court awards unclaimed funds to organizations that serve people whose situation is similar to the class members who have been harmed. In recent years courts have awarded cy pres funds to programs that provide free legal services to low-income people. Residual funds in class actions are a perfect match for this purpose, as one underlying premise for all class actions is to make access to justice a reality for those who otherwise would not be able to obtain the protections of our justice system.

A New Cy Pres Law Promotes Access to Justice.

Effective July 1, 2008, a new section of the Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/2-807, ensures that, to the extent practicable, residual funds in Illinois class action cases are to be distributed to pro bono and legal aid organizations that improve access to justice for less fortunate residents of Illinois.

  • At least 50% of any residual funds in class action cases must go to one or more organizations that promote or provide access to justice for low-income Illinois residents.
  • Courts have the discretion to award up to 50% of these funds to other organizations that serve the public good if the court finds good cause to do so.

Prairie State Legal Services -- an Ideal Choice for Cy Pres Awards

  • Prairie State Legal Services is eligible to receive cy pres awards because we promote equal access to justice for disadvantaged residents of 36 Northern and Central Illinois counties.
  • Prairie State can put cy pres funds to use. Our broad scope of services, wide geographic service area, and diverse client base give us the flexibility to target funds awarded by the court to specific needs or to the broad goals of access to justice for the disadvantaged.
  • Our clients share something in common with the members of class action lawsuits. Prairie State clients include the elderly, immigrants, the working poor, and other vulnerable populations. They are often victims of unfair and predatory consumer practices and other injustices similar to those litigated in class action lawsuits.
  • Prairie State aids in the fair and efficient functioning of our courts by representing disadvantaged people who normally would be without a lawyer, by coordinating pro bono legal representation, and where representation is not possible, by supporting the development of pro se resource centers.
How You Can Make a Difference

Cy pres awards have proven to be one of the best means available to help close the justice gap, and help expand the capacity of staff lawyers and volunteer private attorneys to provide legal assistance to the poor. If you are an attorney or a party in a class action lawsuit, you can help make the promise of equal access to justice a reality by requesting the court to direct unclaimed funds to Prairie State Legal Services.

For more information, please contact: Mike O'Connor, Executive Director, at 815.965.2134

Legal Services Corporation
LSC promotes equal access to justice. We encourage you to support LSC. LSC's support for this website is limited to those activities that are consistent with LSC restrictions.

United Way
United Way supports many important community agencies, including Prairie State Legal Services. We encourage you to support your local United Way.

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