March 15, 2014. Elgin. Administer Justice, the suburban Christian legal aid foundation, has been awarded the highest rating from a charity watchdog group that evaluates the legitimacy of charities around the country. The local organization didn’t only earn the top honor, but demonstrated what true charity is all about with over 95% of all their donations being spent helping people.
Justice could use a little help these days. And there's one organization in Elgin doing their part. Image courtesy of Daniel Eskridge.
After reporting for the last few years about all the help Administer Justice gives to those left behind by the government and society, this author is pleasantly surprised to see that the legal aid agency goes far beyond the limits that most charities do. Many will spend as much as 50% of their donations on their staff and on more fundraising, some charities as much as 90%. Knowing that Administer Justice puts a full 95% of their contributions toward their work, it’s a wonder how they keep the light bill paid.
4 Star Rating
After being evaluated by Charity Navigator, the non-profit watchdog awarded Administer Justice 4 out of 4 possible stars. Even more impressive, the auditor listed the top legal justice charities among the others they surveyed including foundations in Washington DC, California, New York and Virginia and Illinois’ own Administer Justice received the second-highest cumulative score.
‘Founded in 2000, Administer Justice is a legal aid organization serving the needs of low-income and no-income individuals,’ the report described, ‘Administer Justice provides a wide range of services to meet both the immediate and future needs of low-income individuals facing civil legal matters. Most of their services are available at no cost; some require a one-time nominal administrative fee.’
In the announcement naming Administer Justice one of the most trustworthy legal aid charities in the nation, Charity Navigator President and CEO Ken Berger had nothing but praise for the Elgin, Illinois organization.
“We are proud to announce Administer Justice has earned a 4-star rating,” Berger and Charity Navigator announced, “Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that your organization adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way. Approximately a quarter of the charities we evaluate have received our highest rating, indicating that Administer Justice outperforms most other charities in America. This "exceptional" designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Administer Justice from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust."
A quick visit to the Administer Justice webpage gives some real-world examples of the kinds of people the agency is able to help with the aid of volunteer attorneys, support staff and contributions. The group’s home page begins by stating, ‘We’ve all heard the saying, you have the right to an attorney. But did you know this is only true for those being accused of a crime in our country, NOT their victims? Without a legal advocate, victims are left to fend for themselves.’
Changing the actual individuals’ names, the Administer Justice home page goes on to give a couple examples of the people they’ve helped recently, ‘Victims like James, an 82 year old widow whose social security was garnished by the IRS due to identity theft. Victims like Anna, a single mom losing her home because she could not stand against the robo-signing schemes of her lender. Victims like 16 year old Maria, exploited and abused in the human sex trafficking world of the Chicago suburbs.’
Speaking of sex trafficking, Administer Justice has been doing its best to warn our community that sex trafficking doesn’t only happen in the movies or in far-off countries. In fact, the largest gathering of underage, child sex slaves in the world happens every year in the US. We’ll leave readers with the assignment of finding out what that very popular and well-known event is. You may just be shocked.
"The news shouldn't be left wing or right wing, conservative or liberal. It should be the news. It should be independent" - Mark Wachtler, Illinois Herald owner/editor
Part of Administer Justice’s efforts in fighting human trafficking has been holding seminars and presentations to educate attorneys, teachers, councilors, parents, and anyone who wants to get involved. While the events are from a legal perspective, the group always announces that everyone is welcome to attend, from community members and the media to law enforcement and victims. The next presentation on human trafficking and the sex slave industry will be held at their Elgin, Illinois facility on March 25, 2014 from 4:00 to 5:30pm.
Back in December, we reported that Administer Justice was awarded the distinguished ‘2013 HOPE Award for Effective Compassion’. For more information about that honor, read the Illinois Herald article, ‘Administer Justice wins National Award for Charity.’ For more information about the organization or to find out how you can help them or they can help you, visit AdministerJustice.org.
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