Students in the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law (UIC Law) Fair Housing Legal Clinic now have the support of Baird & Warner in the fight to further fair housing. The Illinois real-estate giant has donated $215,000 through its Stephen W. and Susan M. Baird Foundation and Good Will Works for an annual scholarship to support a student serving in the nationally recognized, award-winning clinic.
The John Baird Scholarship covers tuition associated with the five-credit clinic/class corequisites taken by a student enrolling in the clinic for the first time. Any first-time fair housing clinic student is eligible, though scholarship preference is given to students who graduated high school in the Chicago area. For recipients, the scholarship provides substantial financial relief, but for the Fair Housing Clinic, the scholarship represents a valuable partnership.
“We are beyond thrilled with this partnership and the opportunity it presents to train future lawyers in the struggle for housing justice,” said Professor Allison K. Bethel, Director of the Fair Housing Legal Clinic. “The timing could not be better as we look to address the shameful inequities in communities of color exposed by COVID. Thank you, Baird & Warner, for answering the call to break down the barriers to building the inclusive communities envisioned by the Fair Housing Act.”
The Fair Housing Legal Support Center & Clinic’s work to end housing discrimination aligns well with the mission of Baird & Warner’s philanthropic arm, Good Will Works. The Clinic, one of the only U.S. law school clinics devoted exclusively to fair housing training and enforcement, has challenged discriminatory housing practices throughout the Chicago area since it was established in 1993. And it’s earned notable recognition along the way, winning the ISBA’s LEAC Excellence in Legal Education Award in 2021 and the Illinois Department of Human Rights’ Human Rights Day Award in 2018.
“It’s important to use our seat at the table to create change, just as my grandfather John Baird did in the 1960s,” notes Lucy Baird, Director of Community Impact. “[That’s] what we hope this scholarship will do. By supporting a local institution with strong Chicago ties, we’re able to encourage future leaders in fair housing for decades to come.”
Founded in 1855, Baird & Warner, Illinois’s largest family-owned, independent real estate services company, has shown its commitment to the people of Chicago and to fair housing throughout its history. In 1962, former company president John Baird, for whom the new scholarship is named, testified before the Chicago City Council and state legislators in support of fair housing when others in powerful Chicago real estate circles were unwilling to take a stand. Through Good Will Works, the company has donated more than $3M to Chicagoland nonprofits focused on housing-related causes.