Sen. Ferhrich's and Ester Portnoy in office

Raise My Taxes?!

Why has LSSI worked for more than a decade to pass "comprehensive tax and budget reform" in Illinois?

More than a decade ago, the Board of Directors of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) along with the Board of Trustees of our cousin organization, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois (LCFS), spent a day together studying the problems caused by chronic underfunding of state subsidized human services. The conclusion of the two boards, captured in a join resolution, was that the state of Illinois needed to adopt fundamental and comprehensive tax and budget reform, so that vital state services could receive enough funding to accomplish their goals, including caring for vulnerable people.

Download the joint resolution and accompanying white paper, titled “The Environment for Social Services in Illinois.

LSSI supported the temporary income tax increase passed by the Illinois General Assembly in January 2011. It is important to note, however, that this temporary measure falls far short of our goal for adequate and sustainable funding for state services. LSSI intends to continue to push for much more comprehensive tax and budget reform that provides adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for state services, but does so in ways that more fairly shares the tax burden in the state among those who benefit from state services.

Government Relations and Advocacy

Click here to download a PDF with more information
Government Relations & Advocacy
Church Relations
Church-Based Community Services
Disaster Response
Volunteer Engagement

Within LSSI, Government Relations and Advocacy are two distinct but overlapping functions. Government Relations addresses the needs of the people being served in various LSSI programs, as well as the needs of human service providers -- such as LSSI -- so that we are able to continue to provide vital services to those people.

Our public policy Advocacy is part of the ELCA's network of state public policy offices.  In Illinois, Lutheran Advocacy–Illinois works with all three synods in Illinois to organize grassroots support for state and federal policies that reflect ELCA social statements, resolutions and messages on public policy issues. In Illinois, the primary focus of the state public policy office is adequate and sustainable state funding for human services that provide the vital safety net for all people in Illinois. Lutheran Advocacy–Illinois also addresses environmental and civil rights issues.

The office of Government Relations and Advocacy also offers numerous resources to church groups or individuals who want to get more deeply involved in faith- and value-based public policy advocacy. Among our offerings:

  • Advocacy Training for Adults
  • Advocacy Training for Teens and Confirmation students
  • Training in the “Just Neighbors” program
  • Sunday School presentations on Justice
  • Forums covering all the services of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
  • Poverty and Justice Forum
  • Adoption and Community Child Care Forum
  • Senior Services Forum
  • Prison Inmates and their Families Outreach.

LSSI's Office of Government Relations and Advocacy is led by Jennifer De Leon, director government relations. Contact her to learn more about how you can add your voice to the thousands of Lutherans across Illinois who speak out in favor of a strong public–private safety net for people in need in our state, or if you would like one of the previously mentioned presentations for your congregation.

Jennifer can be reached at 847/390-1428, or at