FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Barry Taylor, Legal Advocacy Director
Equip for Equality
TTY (800) 610-2779
Manager, Media Relations
Equip for Equality
(312) 312-895-7252 (work)
(312) 282-8395 (cell)
EQUALITY FOR KIDS CAMPAIGN SUCCEEDS DESPITE ECONOMIC CRUNCH
Leaders in Chicago’s Legal and Business Community Strengthen
Equip for Equality’s Advocacy on Behalf of Students with Disabilities
(Chicago, August 12, 2009) Equip for Equality is proud to announce that its Equality for Kids Campaign raised more than $235,000 in its first year. The Campaign secures critical funding for Equip for Equality’s Special Education Clinic and other disability rights initiatives, and will allow the organization to increase its pro bono efforts on behalf of kids with disabilities. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is serving as the Honorary Chairperson of the Campaign Committee, which was launched with funding from the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section and the Lawyers Trust Fund from Illinois.
“Despite the economic downturn, leaders in the legal and business community have been incredibly generous,” said Duane Quaini, former Chairperson of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, and a Campaign Co-Chair. “Equip for Equality’s mission and its reputation for obtaining positive results for students with disabilities is compelling and has motivated many donors to invest their limited charitable dollars in the Campaign.” As the parent of a person with a significant developmental disability, Mr. Quaini has a deep commitment to the goals of the Campaign.
Two other Chicago leaders, who are also parents of students with disabilities, served as Campaign Co-Chairs: William Von Hoene, Executive Vice President of Exelon, and Kevin Burke of the law firm of Burke Mahoney & Wise.
The law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP galvanized the Campaign with contributions totaling nearly $60,000. Other lead contributors to the Campaign’s first year were Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, Baker & McKenzie LLP, Exelon, and Burke Mahoney & Wise.
News Release re: Equality for Kids Campaign August 12, 2009
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“Kirkland & Ellis has partnered with Equip for Equality for 24 years through pro bono representation and financial support. We are honored to provide the lead contribution,” said Thomas Kuhns, partner at Kirkland & Ellis and a member of the Campaign Committee.
“Our pro bono effort in connection with the Special Education Clinic has generated great interest among our attorneys,” Mr. Kuhns continued. “The funds we contribute enable Equip for Equality to provide the support essential for our attorneys to successfully handle cases in an unfamiliar practice area.”
Equip for Equality’s partnership with Kirkland & Ellis has repeatedly produced successful outcomes for clients in need. Recently, Kirkland attorneys Ned Siegel and Kenton Walker represented a five-year-old boy with autism whose parents’ pleas to the school for a full-day program had been rejected. Although his doctor determined that a full school day was essential for the student’s development, the school district only agreed to a meager 2.5 hours per day. Mssrs. Siegel and Walker successfully negotiated for a full school day, transportation services, and previously denied instruction over the summer, to make up for lost educational opportunities.
Other law firms and corporations providing key support to the Campaign include: Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, DLA Piper LLP (US), Dudley & Lake LLC, Harris Bank, Jeffrey M. Goldberg Law Offices, McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Northern Trust, Northwest Community Healthcare, Schiff Hardin LLP, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Sidley & Austin LLP, and USG Corporation.
“Equip for Equality is very thankful to all of the law firms, corporations, foundations and individuals for their generous commitment to the Equality for Kids Campaign,” said Zena Naiditch, founder, President and CEO of Equip for Equality. “We encourage others to transform the lives of students with disabilities by joining our fundraising effort.”
For more information contact Zena Naiditch, CEO of Equip for Equality at 312-895-7314 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Barry Taylor, the Manager of the Equality for Kids Campaign and Legal Director at 312-895-7317 or email@example.com. To contribute, go to www.equipforequality.org.
About Equip for Equality
Established in 1985, Equip for Equality is a private not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance the human and civil rights of people with disabilities. Equip for Equality is the fourth largest legal service provider in Illinois. The organization provides self advocacy and legal advocacy services on a broad range of issues, serves as an independent watchdog by monitoring conditions in public and private facilities and conducting abuse investigations and advocating for public policy changes that safeguard and advance the rights of people with all types of disabilities and ages.