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Ready to Answer the Call: Call For Justice hires CEO opens office
Sunday, January 1, 2012

Section: Spotlight/Profiles

Ellen Krug has been hired as the CEO for Call For Justice.

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After years of planning and fundraising, the Call For Justice legal service hotline will soon be up and running. This new service for the entire metropolitan area will provide an effective and reliable telephone legal referral and brief advice service. With a single call, the most disadvantaged members of our community will now be matched with the most appropriate resources available to help meet their legal needs. The new service is being launched in partnership with United Way 2-1-1.

The idea for the Call For Justice concept evolved six years ago from discussions among representatives from Volunteer Lawyers Network, the HCBA, and the Hennepin County Bar Foundation. Ramsey County bar leaders quickly joined the planning efforts and a joint task force was established in 2006. The task force was made up of representatives from law firms, legal services providers, and the metro bar associations. The task force identified an access gap between clients in need and legal services providers. There was not a unified access point to the broad spectrum of legal services in the Twin Cities’ community. The task force released a report that outlined a plan to fulfill this genuine community need. The report had three main recommendations:
• Don’t reinvent the wheel
• Partner with United Way’s 2-1-1 program to improve service by preventing repeated referrals and offering constructive transfers.
• Develop a 3-year pilot project.

The three-year pilot project required an estimated budget of $500,000. Before fundraising efforts began, the task force filed articles of incorporation documents creating a nonprofit limited liability company named Call For Justice that would be run by an eight-member board. The task force agreed not to approach certain foundations to avoid intruding on existing funding streams for other legal services providers. The HCBF and RCBF agreed to provide a combined $250,000 if the same amount could be matched from other sources. The Twin Cities legal community responded generously to meet this challenge. On March 1, 2011 the Call For Justice reached its fundraising goal.

With the fundraising goal attained, the Call For Justice board moved ahead with hiring staff and acquiring office space.

Office space was established at the United Way Building at 404 8th Street South in Minneapolis. The Call For Justice office will be connected to phones and computers in conjunction with United Way’s 2-1-1 operation. The location will help Call For Justice blend seamlessly with the well-established 2-1-1 service.

The first hire for Call For Justice was an executive director who would be responsible for fundraising,
recruiting, establishing liaisons to legal services organizations, and managing office operations. After a thorough search process, the Call For Justice board selected Ellen Krug.

Krug is a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she had an active trial practice. A graduate of Boston College Law School, Krug has extensive community service experience with various nonprofits.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of a groundbreaking project that has great potential for assisting those under-represented in the community,” Krug said upon accepting the position.

After setting up the office and hiring additional staff, Krug plans to begin operations in early 2012. Outreach to organizations providing legal services to the disadvantaged has already begun. Under Krug’s leadership, Call For Justice is on its way to becoming a well-known resource in the years ahead.
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