Better Business Bureau Report for

Better Business Bureau Report issued April 2013
Better Business Bureau Report expires April 2015

This BBB Accredited charity meets all 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. Find out more...

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Charity Contact Information

Name: LAF
Address: 120 S. LaSalle St. Ste. 900
  Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-341-1070
Web Address:
Also known as:Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Formerly known as:Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago

Year, State Incorporated: 1972, Illinois
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: At LAF, provides civil legal services to people living in poverty and other vulnerable groups. Through advocacy, education, collaboration, and litigation, they work to empower individuals, protect fundamental rights, strengthen communities, create opportunities, and achieve justice.

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Evaluation Conclusions


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The American legal system is complex for anyone. But for someone who is living in poverty and unable to hire an attorney, our legal system is downright intimidating. For over 40 years, LAF has provided people living in poverty in metropolitan Chicago with free professional legal services. Each year, LAF makes equal justice a reality, impacting the lives of about 55,000 of the most vulnerable members of our community. Each issue is unique, and each of LAF’s 80 full-time attorneys and staff gives their clients individualized attention. Their work results in such successes as the gaining custody of a child, obtaining an order of protection against an abusive spouse, preventing an unfair eviction, or getting justice for a victim of consumer fraud. LAF’s work starts by making the legal system accessible to clients and concludes with a resolution that changes their lives and gets them back on track. LAF’s work is more important than ever. The number of people living in poverty in Cook County has increased by half a million people. In a single year, LAF helped over 1,600 families whose homes were in foreclosure. In that same year, LAF kept 6,400 people from homelessness by preventing unfair evictions or saving subsidized housing vouchers. Furthermore, 60 percent of LAF’s clients are women, many of them raising children on their own. Today, governmental budget cuts are a financial reality. But LAF’s services have never been more needed. So LAF relies on private donations to fulfill its mission.

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011, LAF's program expenses were:

Program Services 13,024,474
Total Program Expenses: $13,024,474
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Chief Executive : Diana C. White, Executive Director

Chair of the Board: Maja Eaton
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Attorney / Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

Board Size: 37

Paid Staff Size: 149

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
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Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

direct mail, invitations to fund raising events, grant proposals, internet, membership
Fund raising costs were 9% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $4,090,862, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
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Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
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The following information is based on Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.

Source of Funds  
Grants and Contracts - LSC 7,409,087
Foundations, United Way, others 2,545,944
Grants and Contracts - other gov 2,076,521
Misc 1,013,099
Special Events 701,856
Contributions 591,657
Services, in-kind 251,405
Attorneys' fees 106,135
Interest and dividend Income 54,765
Realized and unrealized gain on investments 39,933
Loss on disposal of property and equipment -8,261
Total Income $14,782,141


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 91%  Fund Raising: 3%  Administrative: 6% 

Total income $14,782,141
Program expenses $13,024,474
Fund raising expenses 357,783
Administrative expenses 820,316
Total expenses $14,202,573
Income in Excess of Expenses 579,568
Beginning net assets 4,839,707
Ending net assets 5,419,275
Total liabilities 5,140,511
Total assets $10,559,786

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