We believe that everyone deserves a shot at a better life.

Ladder Up provides hardworking people with free financial consulting resources to help our clients secure the opportunities they need to move up the economic ladder.

  • Tax Assistance
  • College Financial Aid
  • Financial Education
Founded In 1994

When 22-year-old Chicago business analyst and volunteer basketball coach Robert Burke saw how the hardworking families of his west side team were struggling to make ends meet, he took a shot at helping out. With the goal of securing unclaimed tax credits for the people of this underserved but deserving community, he recruited 90 colleagues to prepare tax returns at no cost. The efforts paid off, returning over $150,000 in tax refunds to 120 families.

$1.2 billion

Returned to Clients


Clients Served

Meet the Team

  • Phyllis Cavallone-Jurek

    Executive Director
  • Karina Ruiz

    Office Administrator
  • Hedi Belkaoui

    Chief Operations Officer
  • Michelle Kuipers

    Tax Clinic Staff Attorney
  • Greg Williams

    Operations Manager, Tax Assistance Program
  • Letty Train

    Operations Coordinator, Tax Assistance Program
  • Becky Santiago

    Senior Manager, Tax Assistance Program
  • Evelyn Espinosa

    Engagement Manager, Tax Assistance Program
  • Susana Ramirez

    Paralegal, Tax Clinic
  • Aneta Pietraszek

    Development Director
  • Katrina McDermott

    Director of Finance and Administration
  • Nancy Battaglia

    Director of Volunteer Engagement and Financial Capabilities