For over 40 years LAF has been the largest provider of comprehensive free legal services in non-criminal matters to the most vulnerable people in Cook County. The clients we see every day at LAF contend with a host of complicated civil legal problems which keep them from achieving true stability in life. Many suffer from domestic violence at the hand of a spouse or partner, face wrongful eviction from their homes, or are victims of consumer fraud. Sometimes they are not receiving the disability or veterans’ benefits to which they are entitled. When our work is successful, we solve more than our clients’ immediate problems; we give our clients and their family the stability that enables them to get back on track and escape the cycle of poverty.
Through everything we do, we strive to position LAF as one of the key cornerstone providers of social services in our community.
Over the past five years, the number of people who need our services has exploded, while government funding for our work has declined significantly. We’ve stepped up our fundraising efforts in the private sector and we’ve been gratified by the response of individuals, foundations, law firms and corporations. We’ve also rethought how best to serve our clients and how best to ensure that we are a place where donors can know that their investment will be well used to achieve the maximum outcomes and impact.
We also decided it was time to make sure that more people knew and understood both the issues our clients face and the results we can achieve for them and that meant a new external face for LAF. Thanks to three grants from The Taproot Foundation, which gave us over $150,000 worth of pro bono marketing and branding support, we re-thought how we talk about ourselves, and our work. We changed our name from the unwieldy and misleading “Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago” to simply LAF, which is what everyone has been calling us for years. Then, we developed a new logo to breathe fresh life into our visual identity and communication. Finally, we completely re-designed our website, and developed new communication tools, including this blog.
We hope this blog will give you new insights into our work and the issues in our community. We hope it will also make it easier for people to understand our work, and to be ambassadors and advocates for us – whether that’s in the form of telling people about what we do, making a financial contribution, or volunteering their time with us.
LAF is one of the bedrock agencies helping people in poverty get back on track, and we are an integral part of the social service community in Cook County – but we have always been a well-kept secret. This is something we really want to change.
Thank you for your interest in our work. Stay tuned….