Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) To Acquire Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM)


CHICAGO, Illinois (July 1, 2014) - Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) and Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM) have completed the acquisition of CLAIM as a program of CGLA, effective today. This transaction will preserve CLAIM’s programming, and name, strengthen CGLA’s increasingly comprehensive services and advocacy for people affected by the justice system, and benefit at-risk constituencies across the state.

“CLAIM provides a voice and support for incarcerated women and their children that no one else does,” explained CLAIM interim executive director Mary Morten. “It’s critical that this work continues, and we are thrilled that the torch will be passed to CGLA.”

“CGLA is honored to carry on the work of CLAIM, which will strengthen and complement our work, especially our growing advocacy efforts,” said CGLA executive director Gretchen Slusser. “We are counting on all those who share CGLA’s and CLAIM’s commitment to serve justice involved mothers and fathers and their children to stand with us and continue to support this work.”

Over the last several weeks, both organizations have merged staff and CLAIM programs are now operating out of the CGLA offices. The leadership of both organizations is excited that that the acquisition will make CGLA the leading expert and advocate in the state on the real-life effects of the criminal justice system. CLAIM’s Visible Voices and Speakers’ Bureau programs and its expertise on the issues of incarcerated women and their families complement CGLA’s existing reputation and track record on criminal justice issues. With both organizations’ legislative and other stakeholder relationships, and expanded direct service data to drive advocacy, CGLA will become a powerhouse for policy advocacy.

CLAIM began almost 30 years ago as a legal services and advocacy organization that advocates for policies and programs that benefit families of imprisoned mothers and reduces the incarceration of women and girls. The organization is a national leader on policies that help maintain the bond between mothers and their children.

The combination of programs will ensure the sustainability of this essential work through an estimated $1 million savings over 5 years through a reduction in administrative costs, ongoing operating efficiencies, the expressed commitment of institutional funders for this acquisition, and a compelling case for support based on impact and innovation that set CGLA apart.

CGLA began in 1973 as a young attorney’s response to requests for help from public housing residents through his church. Today, CGLA is a recognized leader in sealing and expunging criminal records, as well as their innovative approach to integrating legal and support services for thousands of individuals who struggle with unjust circumstances.

By 2017, CGLA aspires to offer a full complement of exceptional pro bono legal and holistic services for men, women, fathers, mothers, guardians, and their children who are at risk of negative impact from the criminal justice system. The CLAIM program will be an integral component of CGLA.

The acquisition has been generously supported by: Chicago Foundation for Women, Alphawood Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Bar Foundation, Pierce family Foundation, SeaChange Capital – Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration and Woods Fund of Chicago.

Gretchen Slusser
Executive Director, Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA)

Mary Morten
Interim Executive Director, Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM)

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