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DART TO DELIVER KEYNOTE FOR GROUP ASSISTING WORKING POOR

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010—Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart will provide keynote remarks in a Wednesday breakfast event supporting a non-profit group that provides free financial assistance to low-income families.

Ladder Up’s 3rd annual Leader Breakfast is set for 8 a.m. today at the University Club, 76 E. Monroe St. Joining Dart in keynote remarks will be Irene Phelps, president of Siragusa Foundation.

Ladder Up is made up of hundreds of volunteers who provide free tax preparation assistance to the working poor, financial aid help to prospective and enrolled college students and banking advice to thousands more families and individuals from across the Chicago area. Since it was created in 1994, Ladder Up has helped more than 100,000 clients realize $184 million in benefits. Last year, the group committed to returning $1 billion in benefits to its clients over the next 15 years.

Dart said he was drawn to the group’s mission because of the shared commitment he has to providing a helping hand to those most in need. Last year, Time magazine named Dart one of the “100 Most Influential People In The World” after the unprecedented stand he took on behalf of working families who were renting in foreclosed buildings – a status they didn’t know about until Dart’s deputies showed up at the door to evict them. Dart halted evictions until new protections could be put into place ensuring families received proper notice of the foreclosure. Last month, Dart called another halt to foreclosure evictions in the wake of public comments from some lenders that their staff hadn’t properly verified that foreclosures on families had been done properly and legally.

As operator of the single largest jail in the nation, Dart has also pushed for more rehabilitative programs for the 10,000 detainees at the Cook County Jail, as he quickly recognized recidivism is often rooted in a lack of opportunities or assistance for those in need.

“The work being done by Ladder Up is an incredibly important component toward building our communities, keeping our neighborhoods stable and providing opportunities for some of the hardest working people in those neighborhoods,” Dart said. “I’m proud to work with them to help others.”

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