Holiday Wishes Coming True

Illinois State Treasurer's Office
3 min readJan 21, 2021

January 2021 Treasurer’s Note by Treasurer Michael Frerichs

An early holiday gift greeted Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.

The non-profit social services organization will receive $8,763 in unclaimed cash that was surrendered to our office after it could not be delivered to the Des Plaines-based organization.

This money is considered unclaimed property. Lawmakers created Illinois’ first unclaimed property law in 1961. It was applied retroactively to Aug. 17, 1946. Lawmakers assigned unclaimed property responsibilities to the state treasurer’s office beginning July 1, 1999.

Most people I encounter cannot believe money and other property could be misplaced. Every penny counts, right? Then I tell them that we have returned more than $1 billion in the past few years. In fact, one-in-four people who search unclaimed property find money. The average is more than $1,000.

During the holidays, we make an extra effort to return money to non-profits because their selfless acts of kindness help so many people. We know every unanticipated dollar is a blessing when helping children, the elderly, and those battling mental health issues. Our staff feels very fortunate that we were able to play a small role in making this holiday season a little brighter for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.

What is remarkable about this particular claim is how unremarkable it is: There is no mega-donor. There is no wayward anonymous gift. There are lots of small dollar amounts that seemingly represent every‑day life, such as an unrealized discount on internet service, a credit balance from an apparent software company, and a balance from a company that hauled away trash.

Of the 62 unclaimed cash properties surrendered, the smallest is the refund of one penny from General Electric Company, the largest is $2,520 from unspecified vendor checks, and the oldest is an uncashed $14 check issued in 2009.

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois was founded in 1867, and last year served more than 43,000 children, adults, and seniors through 50 program offices across Illinois, including foster care, mental health services, alcohol and drug treatment, affordable senior housing, and residential programs for adults with developmental disabilities.

“LSSI prides itself on being good stewards with our resources, and it’s reassuring that the Illinois Treasurer’s office makes such an effort to return these unclaimed assets to organizations like ours, as well as individual residents,” Mark A. Stutrud, LSSI President and CEO, told us. “Particularly in this last year, more people have needed our services than ever before, and this unanticipated money helps ensure our programs are available to those who require them.”

It always is an honor to do good work for the people of Illinois, but there is a special sense of gratitude when we can help non-profits pursue their mission. Still, there is no need to wait until the next holiday season; individuals can search our unclaimed property database at www.illinoistreasurer.gov/ICASH.

After all, it’s your money.

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