The Illinois Judicial Council Foundation (IJCF) is the sister organization to the Illinois Judicial Council (IJC). Shortly after its inception in 1983, the IJC committed its resources to establishment of scholarships awarded to minority and other needy law students on an annual basis. After a period of time, the need to formalize a non-profit charitable entity for this purpose became apparent and in January 1999 the IJCF was formally incorporated as a Section 501(C)(3) organization.
The IJCF’S membership is comprised of retired state and federal jurists as well as administrative law judges and other adjudicative officers.
Since 1999, the IJCF has funded over 70 scholarships, totaling over $200, 000 for minority and other deserving law students in Illinois and beyond. These scholarships, awarded annually by the IJC, are based on applicant interviews and the following criteria: academic achievement, financial need, community involvement and the demonstrated ability in overcoming obstacles.
The mission of the IJCF is to provide the necessary financial resources to the IJC in furtherance of its philanthropic, educational, and community-based activities for law students, particularly those interested in social justice and equity issues.
The IJCF enjoys close collaboration with the IJC in sponsoring fundraising activities as well as programs of community interest. The IJCF had established relationships with local law schools and has enlisted their commitment to provide matching funds to IJC scholarship recipients. These law schools include:
Loyola University of Chicago
The John Marshall Law School/
University of Illinois
Chicago Kent College of Law
DePaul University College of Law
Northwestern University College of Law
Southern Illinois University College of Law
IJCF Board of Directors
Hon. Drella C. Savage (ret)
Hon. Marilyn Johnson (ret)
Hon. Camille E. Willis (ret)
Hon. Theodore Sherrod
Hon. Sidney Jones, iii (ret)
Hon. La Quietta Hardy Campbell (ret)
Hon. Rodney Hughes Brooks (ret)
Hon. Mary Maxwell Thomas (ret)
Hon. Carl McCormick (ret)
Hon. Albert Porter (ret)
“The IJCF Directors and Members are saddened to lose our senior director, the late Albert Porter, who served Cook County proudly as a judge and contributed much to scholarships and students.”
The IJCF warmly welcomes four recently retired judges to the Board of Directors, who began a 3-year term in October/December 2020. They are:
Hon. Raymond Funderburk (Ret)
Hon. Shelvin Louise Marie Hall (Ret)
Hon. Orville E. Hambright, Jr. (Ret).
Hon. Robbin Perkins (Ret)
get involved where it counts
Since 1999, the Illinois Judicial Council Foundation has dramatically impacted the lives of law students who may not have otherwise had the resources to complete their education. Average law school debt is $135,000, making it difficult for students from under-represented communities to complete law school. Your gift can make all the difference in the lives of these students. Together, we can support these individuals in finishing their education and paying it forward to the communities which they represent.
(You can direct how your donation will be used)
reaching back, providing a hand up, preparing A more just future
The IJCF is committed to promoting diversity in the legal profession. Data shows that as of 2017, only 5% of attorneys in the U.S. respectively identified as African American or Latino. By investing in law students from underrepresented communities, we are passing on an important torch and increasing their representation in the ranks of practicing attorneys, public officials, and community leaders.
(You can direct how your donation will be used)
2020 scholarship recipients
The 38th Annual Installation and Scholarship Awards was held on September 10, 2020. The Illinois Judicial Council Foundation, Inc, awarded scholarships to four well-deserving , unique, and talented law students. They are:
1st Place Winner
Mr. Olatomide Owolabi, a second year law student at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and 2018 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, recalls an incident from first grade in which he was ridiculed because of his name. He was bullied throughout elementary school and as one of only a few Black students at his school, he experienced “otherness” at an early age- he was Black first, and a person second. But it is precisely these experiences that shaped him into the strong person that he is today – a welcoming and inclusive person to people of all different backgrounds who is eager to advocate for those who do not have a voice to speak out against injustice. Mr. Owolabi, who also has a Master’s in Public Health, learned firsthand that health disparities are closely tied to minorities with a low socioeconomic strata or that reside in low income communities. Throughout his various internships, community service work and student organizational work such as with BLSA, Mr. Owolabi has consistently advocated for underserved communities. He is the vice-president of his BLSA Chapter, and has sought sponsorship for BLSA’s activities. He also serves as a mentor to incoming students, as well as with community-based organizations called Street Law in Chicago and Just the Beginning – A Pipeline Organization.
2nd Place Winner
Ms. Chauntay Parrish, a third year law student at Northern Illinois University College of Law, is a graduate of Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Sciences. Growing up, Ms. Parrish observed family members being taken away by the system and constantly cycling in and out of jail. While her family members were involved in illegal activities, Ms. Parrish was deeply affected by seeing them in court, without the best representation, seeing their voices suppressed and their concerns unheard. Those events motivated her decision to become a public defender, so she can zealously advocate for her clients and also to form a community center where the public can have legal questions answered and receive legal advice. As the only member of her immediate family to attend college and law school, Ms. Parrish has struggled to find motivation and support. However, Ms. Parrish has successfully made the Dean’s List several times, studied abroad and served in student organizations such as BLSA and the Student Bar Association, as well as working as a graduate assistant in the University Writing Center, an intern with the Cabrini Green Legal Aid, and as a judicial extern to Judge Bonita Coleman at Markham Courthouse.
3rd Place Winner
Ms. Chynnique Ross, a third year law student at UIC John Marshall Law School, is a 2017 graduate of Murray State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. A Spring 2020 Dean’s List student, Ms. Ross also served as Advocate General of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and was a semifinalist in the Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition. While attending law school full-time, Ms. Ross has worked as a student attorney in the UIC John Marshall Trademark Clinic, a legal intern at Eccleston Law, and as a judicial extern to Judge Raul Vega in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Domestic Relations Division. A lifelong Chicago resident, Ms. Ross has been very active with BLSA and has organized community service events on the south side for BLSA students to give back.
Mr. Markus Brooks, a 2020 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Jackson State University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Correctional Services, and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., describes himself as always having a passion for the law and public service. After losing several friends to gun violence and negligence, he asked himself “What can I do to help?” His answer- to dedicate his life to public service, beginning with attending law school and meeting his future goals of becoming a State’s Attorney, Congressman and U.S. Presidential Candidate in 2036! Mr. Brooks has been heavily involved in serving the community, having served abroad in distributing medical supplies, as well as locally in such endeavors as spearheading voter registration drives. Mr. Brooks is a first year law student at Northern Illinois University College of Law.
2019 scholarship recipients
The 37th Annual Installation and Scholarship Awards was held on August 22, 2019. The Illinois Judicial Council Foundation, Inc, awarded scholarships to five well-deserving, unique, and talented law students. They are:
The John W. Rodgers Sr. Awardee
The John W. Rogers, Sr. Scholarship honors the distinguished jurist who served in Juvenile Court 23 years and generously contributed each year to the Scholarship Fund is awarded in the amount of $5000 to:
Abdullah Eric Ali
Mr. Abdullah Eric Ali – Mr. Ali is a 3L at Northern Illinois University College of Law who is interested in practicing Employment Discrimination Law. He completed his undergraduate education at California State University, Los Angeles and earned a degree in Business Administration. Mr. Ali has an unusual background; the fourth of seven children, he was raised in a Muslim cult (his word) in South Los Angeles and educated in a school built and operated by the cult. He did not attend high school, which made achieving his college education all the more difficult, but he persevered. While he never believed that attending law school was a possibility, not only did he achieve that goal, but he has made the Dean’s List three of his four semesters of law school. Mr. Ali has earned a position on Law Review and still makes time to volunteer and serve the community.
The Judicial Council Awardees
Bryanna Aeon Jenkins
Ms. Bryanna Aeon Jenkins – Ms. Jenkins is a 3L at DePaul University College of Law who is interested in practicing Civil Rights Law. She completed her undergraduate education at Morgan State University, earning a degree in Marketing, and a Masters from the University of Baltimore in Legal and Ethical Studies. Prior to entering law school, Ms. Jenkins served as the founder and executive director of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance. At DePaul, she was the editor of the Journal for Social Justice and a student attorney in the Civil Rights Clinic. While under chemotherapy treatment, Ms. Jenkins wrote an article subsequently published in the CUNY Law Review Journal. Ms. Jenkins’ passion is to become a legal advocate for the marginalized communities and she has consistently served in externships and internships that further that goal.
Cody Gerard Morrison
Mr. Cody Gerard Morrison – Mr. Morrison is a 3L at The John Marshall Law School of Chicago who is interested in practicing Business and Criminal Litigation. While in high school, Mr. Morrison co-founded an organization to improve the attendance, behaviors and grades of low-performing students. He completed his undergraduate and graduate education at Southern Illinois University, earning a Bachelors in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration. During his undergraduate, graduate and law school studies, Mr. Morrison studied abroad in Ireland, Germany, Hungary and England. Throughout his life, Mr. Morrison has consistently been involved in leadership organizations and outreach opportunities and worked in civic government. Despite navigating obstacles such as his mother’s unexpected passing just before he began his legal journey, Mr. Morrison has persevered and in law school, successfully created a CCBA Student Representative position with the Student Bar Association
Ryesha M. Patterson
Ms. Ryesha M. Patterson – Ms. Patterson is a 3L at Southern Illinois University School of Law who is interested in practicing Criminal Law. She completed her undergraduate education at Northern Illinois University and earned a degree in Political Science. Ms. Patterson’s interest in advocacy began when she tragically lost several friends to gun violence. Currently, she is only one of four African-American women in her law school class, but she has used that position to educate the majority and to encourage other students who are in the minority. At SIU, she is the president of the Black Law Students Association and serves in other leadership organizations as well. Despite a busy schedule, Ms. Patterson also finds time to give back to her local community.
Ms. Pilar Pitts – Ms. Pitts is a 3L at Southern Illinois University School of Law who is interested in practicing Criminal Law. She completed her undergraduate education at Loyola University and earned a degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology. Ms. Pitts desired to attend law school to break her family’s cycle of dysfunction as well as to advocate for the injustices she witnessed in her underprivileged community while growing up. In furtherance of that desire, Ms. Pitts decided to break out of her community and make a two-hour commute to a better high school on the other side of town. She was admitted to college through the LEAP program, which gave her conditional admission to college based on additional coursework and maintaining a specific grade point average her first year. During law school, Ms. Pitts has served in leadership roles and completed clerkships and summer internships
ways to give
Giving is as easy as:
- PayPal on the website.
- Sending your contribution to IJCF at P.O. Box 15143, 1510 E. 55th St., Chicago, IL 60615.
- Designating IJCF to receive matching funds from your employer.
- Directing contributions, grants, and awards to the IJCF from philanthropic, fraternal, and other charitable organizations with which you are affiliated.
(You can direct how your donation will be used)
(You can direct how your donation will be used)
become an ijcf sponsor
Consider supporting IJCF as a scholarship sponsor. The following sponsorship levels are available:
Scales of Justice Partner–$5,000+
Pass the Torch Partner–$2500+
Social Justice Partner–$1000+
Level the Field Partner–$500+
Matching Law School Awards
- Loyola University Chicago School of Law
- The John Marshall Law School
- Chicago Kent College of Law
- DePaul College of Law
- Northwestern University School of Law
- University of Illinois (Chicago/Southern)
- Law firms
The IJCF welcomes your questions and feedback. Please use our web form and we will strive to email you a response as expeditiously as possible.
We truly appreciate your interest and support.