Chris Monroe, Executive Director of The Gift of Music Foundation, is no stranger to the importance of the fine arts. In his 27-year career in radio and music, he has also become aware of an unfulfilled need, particularly for young children longing for the depth and joy of making music.
In late 2014, Chris was speaking with a fellow music teacher who mentioned that her own students did not have instruments with which to practice. Chris offered the teacher a few instruments that he had and was not using, and the idea for The Gift of Music Foundation was born. Chris wondered how many other people had unused instruments in their home that could be put to better use in the hands of children.
Since its official inception in 2015, The Gift of Music Foundation has been on a mission to democratize music education by creating greater accessibility to programs, instruments, music teachers, and the overall benefits of music. The organization serves as a resource for music programs that would not otherwise be able to survive without external funding and support. Providing instruments is at the cornerstone of their work, but they are becoming increasingly involved in offering classes and other programming for children.
Chris and his team are motivated by their belief that music serves a need in every community – simply stated, “Music Matters.”
“We understand the role music and fine arts play in a young person’s life,” Chris said. “It is one of the only skills that uses both sides of the brain, and there have been so many studies correlating music with tests scores, graduation rate – things that schools are focused on. But it seems that music is the first thing to go, when it is sometimes what keeps kids in school.”
One of the Foundation’s most significant achievements is the inception of their Atlanta Public Schools After-School Music Enrichment Program. After seeing the Atlanta Public School system lay off music teachers and cancel music classes all over the city in 2015, The Gift of Music Foundation lent a much-needed hand. In less than two years, this after-school resource expanded to seven schools with over 100 student participants, offering music classes to many students in underserved areas.
Even though the Foundation began in Atlanta, Chris and his team have lofty goals of expanding it into a nationwide resource for music and fine arts.
“We see the need all over the country. We have gifted instruments in upstate New York, outside of Chicago, and a few cities in Florida,” he said. The Foundation has also received international attention, getting requests for instruments from South and East Africa, Kenya, and Australia.
The Gift of Music Foundation is Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s 800th client, starting work with the organization in January 2017. Thus far, Chris and his team have worked with attorneys Lori Shapiro and Chris Underwood. As a new client of PBPA running a small and growing organization, Chris recognizes the need for legal resources. While the members of the Foundation would want nothing more than to focus entirely on their mission of gifting music, they know that resolving legal issues will only push them toward that goal faster and more efficiently. PBPA is fortunate to provide them with this guidance as they continue to grow and find success.
“What we’ve talked about so far – it’s invaluable,” Chris said. “It’s a network of people giving back. We have a nonprofit who gives back, then you have support mechanisms like Pro Bono Partnership who give back to us. If you continue that cycle, there is no limit to the amount of good we can all do.”
Since January 1, 2017, 171 attorneys have volunteered for new matters with Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta! Click here for a list of individuals who have volunteered so far this year.
To: Parker Stephens & Laura Seidel, Ballard Spahr
From: The Drake House
Words cannot express how grateful we are to both of you for all of your diligence on the purchase of the Roswell Oaks apartment complex. By doubling our capacity we can further stabilize our graduate families by offering extended programming in these additional sixteen units, while maintaining our original units for crisis housing. With the continued decline in affordable housing in the North Fulton area, we will be well positioned for community support of this measure to assist additional local families.
To: Jennifer Goldstein & Rick McMurtry from Turner Broadcasting and Ty Lord from Kilpatrick Townsend
From: Enchanted Closet
We’ve had several entities across the country to infringe on or attempt to infringe on our trademark; at least five that had pages on Facebook and other social media sites. Because of the work of Rick, Jennifer, and Ty Lord, we had the proper documentation to protect our brand, and eliminate any liability that the organization may have potentially faced from other entities portraying an affiliation with us. Without the support of Pro Bono Partnership, we would not have been able to obtain the assistance of such diligent attorneys. Thank you so much!
To: Andrew Stulce, Hunton & Williams
From: Advocates for Children
Andrew provided us with a wonderful template for board policies and procedures, missing only information that I needed to provide. We’ve finished that work on our end just this week and will distribute the new policies at our board meeting and retreat on January 21. I am incredibly grateful for your support and for this wonderful new resource, Andrew. I know our trustees will be very pleased to see such a comprehensive document to guide them in their board role.
To: Suzanne Russo & Gloria Robinson, The Home Depot
On behalf of GLISI, I would like to thank you for your patience and guidance as we worked to negotiate the best possible agreement. Our team is excited about the move and optimistic about the potential effects of the shift in the workplace environment.
You and Suzanne were invaluable throughout the entire process, balancing candor with support and encouragement. Because of you, GLISI is even better positioned to achieve our mission of developing world-class education leaders who advance student achievement and organizational effectiveness.
To: Devin Schoonmaker, Troutman Sanders
Your experience and willingness to assist us have been greatly appreciated. Your involvement with Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta is an invaluable service to non-profits. And, one we will never forget.
From January 1, 2017, 171 attorneys have volunteered with PBPA. Thank you to those who have volunteered with PBPA so far this year!
Anne Marie Garavaglia
Christina Weatherford Malone
Faith Knight Myers
Jessica Rutledge Watson
Matt San Roman
Michael R. Baumrind
R. Lee Strasburger
Vera H. Powell
Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, a tax-exempt organization that matches volunteer lawyers with local nonprofits in need of free legal counsel, is recognizing outstanding volunteer attorneys for their pro bono efforts at its 12th Anniversary Reception on Tuesday, March 14 at the office of Alston & Bird, LLP.
Elavon, Inc. will receive the “Corporation of the Year Award” for its contributions of time and legal expertise in helping Atlanta area nonprofits. All four of Elavon’s attorneys in Atlanta volunteer regularly
with PBPA, including General Counsel Mindy Doster. Seyfarth Shaw will receive the “Law Firm of the Year Award” for its outstanding efforts in taking legal matters referred by PBPA. Twenty-five Seyfarth Shaw attorneys assisted on 35 PBPA projects in 2016 alone. Seyfarth Shaw also hosted a pro bono event to advise individual nonprofits on overtime regulations.
PBPA will also honor several individuals with a “Volunteer of the Year Award.” Dorian Kennedy, Shareholder at Baker Donelson; Corbin Kennelly, Associate at Paul Hastings; Heather Howdeshell, General Attorney, Delta Air Lines; Carly Regan, Corporate Legal Manager, Turner Broadcasting System; Michael Kline, Director of Intellectual Property and Corporate Secretary at Srixon/Cleveland Golf; and Suhail Seth, Partner, Nelson Mullins.
PBPA will present the 2016 Happy Perkins Award to Eduardo Martinez, President of The UPS Foundation and UPS Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer. The Happy Perkins Award is named after the retired General Counsel of GE Energy who played a pivotal role in organizing Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. It is presented from time to time to recognize an individual who makes an outstanding contribution to Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. As head of The UPS Foundation, Mr. Martinez has overseen the Foundation’s strong support of PBPA’s Legal Check-Up Program, which provides issue spotting legal assistance to over 50 non-profit organizations annually.
Stephanie Campbell of KiDsGyM USA, a PBPA client, will kick off the awards presentation by sharing
how the legal services provided through PBPA have aided her organization and the work it does to
provide physical exercise and confidence to at-risk youth.
“Obviously, Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta would not exist without our volunteers and our donors. This event gives us a chance to thank them and to highlight the extraordinary efforts of some of our outstanding volunteers,” said Rachel Epps Spears, Executive Director of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. Spears would also like to thank the event’s sponsors including Presenting Sponsor Clarivate Analytics/CompuMark, Sustaining Sponsors Aprio and Donnelley Financial Solutions, and Supporting Sponsors Axiom Law, DTI, and State Bank & Trust Company.
PBPA provides free legal services to community-based nonprofits that operate programs benefiting low income
or disadvantaged individuals. PBPA matches eligible organizations with volunteer attorneys from the leading corporations and law firms in Atlanta. Since it opened its doors twelve years ago, PBPA has assigned and supported over 3,000 volunteer lawyers in aiding about 800 nonprofit clients. In 2016 alone, PBPA provided free legal services valued over $3.5 million to Atlanta-area nonprofits. PBPA is funded by donations from corporations, law firms, bar sections and individuals.
Foundation for Hospital Art began with Paris and a childhood memory. While in Paris showcasing his art, John Feight recalled how his grandfather—a doctor in rural Ohio—was motivated by a desire to care for people regardless of their ability to pay for services. When John returned to Georgia, he began volunteering at Northside Hospital. He was discouraged by the blank walls of the hospital and the effect they had on the children who were already suffering so much.
In 1984, John founded the Foundation for Hospital Art, which strives to give comfort and hope to those who suffer in hospitals by providing artwork at no cost to hospitals. Initially, the artwork was painted directly onto the hospital walls during PaintFest events where patients and volunteers worked together to ease the anxiety that so often accompanies illness and sterile hospital settings.
The Foundation has grown to include over a million volunteers who have completed 44,000 paintings placed in 4,000 hospitals and nursing homes in 195 countries. John’s son, Scott Feight, remembers painting at Northside Hospital as a kid. When he returned to Atlanta after college and began working for GE Energy, his passion for nonprofit work led him to join the Foundation’s Board and serve as President of the GE Volunteers Council. Now, he is the Foundation for Hospital Art Executive Director.
Perhaps most notable in the Foundation’s tremendous growth over the past three decades has been the transition from murals on hospital walls to painting on canvas. Donors select PaintFest kits from a variety of designs and the Foundation ships the canvases, design, and all necessary supplies directly to them. The designs are a “paint-by-number” format so no artistic ability is required. When the canvases are complete, they are shipped back to the Foundation where an artist touches up the artwork. They are then sent to a hospital and displayed with the sponsor’s name.
The canvases have also been essential to PaintFests that still occur on site at hospitals. “Canvases allow you to paint with a patient who may not be able to get out of bed, or who is confined to a wheelchair,” Scott said. This work has created emotional experiences for volunteers and patients, as Scott recalls painting with a child at a cancer hospital in Argentina who knew he only had a day or two longer to live and the only thing he wanted to do was paint so that patients would have something pleasant to look at and remember him by. The switch to canvas has also taken the Foundation to unique PaintFest locations such as Mongolia, Siberia, and a drug rehab hospital in Cambodia. The Foundation has hosted PaintFests with homeless veterans, prisoners, and military troops overseas.
The quest is to paint in every hospital in the world, which they are well on their way to doing with PaintFest America. This summer, Foundation for Hospital Art embarked on a nationwide trip to paint with cancer patients and survivors in one hospital in each state and the District of Columbia from July 5 to August 23. PaintFest America will culminated in New York where a full installation of canvases featured each state’s bird, flower, and cancer ribbons painted during the tour will be assembled and displayed.
Foundation for Hospital Art recently became a Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta client and participated in Legal Check Up where attorneys identified issues that volunteer attorneys will resolve over the next year. Thus far, the Foundation has worked with Patty Butler of Turner Broadcasting System, Evan Pontz of Troutman Sanders LLP, Robbin Rahman of Kilpatrick Townsend, and Corbin Kennelly, Alexandra Greene, and Danielle Vega of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP. Scott said that Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has really made Foundation for Hospital Art aware of the small issues that often get overlooked and the importance of compliance.
“Sometimes we just get so focused on our mission and getting artwork out there,” Scott said, “but this allows us to take steps now to ensure that we will be able to continue on.”
Since January 1, 2016, 637 attorneys have volunteered for new matters with Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta! Click here for a list of individuals who have volunteered so far this year.
To: Tom Gould, Caldwell, Propst & DeLoach, LLP
From: Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund
This is an example of Pro Bono Partnership doing the wonderful things they do. I really appreciate the support provided by Tom – knowing he was an expert in this subject. It was wonderful, amazing and so appreciated how quickly Tom responded to every question. Thank you all for ALL you do!
To: Kier Prince and Tim Phillips, The American Cancer Society
From: Lumpkin County Family Connection
Thank you so much! This is great and I love that you took the time to even add our logo. This will be a perfect working document for our upcoming fundraisers and can easily be modified for our different events. I have shared with my board, and feel that will be a perfect fit for what we needed.
To: Jennifer Bunting-Graden, Jones Day
From: CASA of Paulding County
It has been a pleasure (and lifesaver) working with Atlanta Pro Bono and Jones Day. We truly appreciate all that both organizations do so that small non-profits, such as Paulding CASA, can focus on what we do.
Again, thank you SO much for handling this matter for us.
To: Suzanne Hollinger, The Coca-Cola Company
From: Mental Health America of Georgia
Thank you for all of your hard work on MHA’s fundraising agreement. Your service was priceless and this agreement will be put to good use.
To: Chris Balch, The Balch Law Group
From: Sober Living America
Thank you and the Balch Law Group for your guidance regarding zoning. Without caring firms like the Balch Law Group and your involvement with Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, Sober Living America could not serve the 5,000 families each year that call us for help. Together we can stop the national addiction epidemic and help the 600,000 young children in Georgia forced to live with addiction in their homes. You guys are the best!
Between January 1, 2016 and December 20, 2016, 637 attorneys have volunteered their time to support PBPA’s nonprofit clients. Thank you to those who have volunteered so far this year:
A. Michael (Mike) Lee
Alison Drane Waterson
Alison Musto LeVasseur
Amelia Las Heras
Anne Marie Garavaglia
Benjamin Joseph Yancey
Bettina Latrice Dennis
Brittany Cassell Raway
Chadwick Preston Rowland
Charles Yates III
Christina Hong Nguyen
Crystal Stevens McElrath
David Katz-(Nelson Mullins)
Diane Pettit Holden
Elizabeth Ryan Whicker
Ellen Padesky Maturen
Emily Burkhardt Vincente
Erin Reeves McGinnis
Gregory Skip Smith
J. Danny Vincent
Jessica Rutledge Watson
John Martin (Morris Manning)
Kandis Wood Jackson
Karime Vergueiro Barry
Kimberly Tacy Hunsucker
Kristen McDermott Woodrum
Lauren Tapson Macon
Lee Anne Sapp
Lorraine Sanchez Hayes
M. Hill Jeffries
Maritza Knight Winfunke
Mary Beth O’Donnell
Meghan (Alex) Royal
Michael Hobbs, Jr.
Pamela Brown Bosley
R. Michael Schreiner
Rachel Fox Weitz
Rhonda St. Phard
Robert Swartwood II
Samantha Smith Lewis
Sara Mizell Towne
Susan Perrilloux Billeaud
Tina Galbraith Gooch
Trich Van Gorder
W. Scott Ortwein
Yendelela Neely Anderson
Resources for Clients Addressing the New Overtime Regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act:
Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta recognizes the challenges that the new overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) pose to our clients. These changes become effective on December 1, 2016, and advance preparation to get ready to implement them is necessary. Therefore, we have compiled this list of resources to assist nonprofits in addressing these changes. All of these resources are available on the Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta website, and through the links below.
• Legal Alert: Overtime Eligibility Expands on December 1, 2016: http://www.pbpatl.org/nonprofit-legal-alerts/overtime-eligibility-expands-on-december-1-2016/ – This article provides information and resources to help organizations understand the changes that are being implemented on December 1, 2016.
• Article: Nonprofit Staffing Strategies for the New Overtime Regulations: http://www.pbpatl.org/nonprofit-legal-alerts/nonprofit-staffing-strategies-for-new-overtime-regulations-2/ – This article includes information about ways organizations will need to adapt their operations to comply with the new FLSA regulations that become effective on December 1, 2016.
• Webcast: Checking the Facts: How the New Overtime Regulations Impact Nonprofits: http://www.pbpatl.org/workshops-and-webcasts/checking-the-facts-how-the-new-overtime-regulations-impact-nonprofits/ – This webcast provides basic guidance to help organizations understand the requirements of the new FLSA regulations and their implications.
• Webcast: The Fair Labor Standards Act for the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault: http://www.pbpatl.org/workshops-and-webcasts/fair-labor-standards-act-for-gnesa/ – This webcast was presented for a specific client group, but has much broader relevance for nonprofit organizations. It provides both an overview of the law’s requirements, and practical information about how to address the new requirements, and how to work with nonexempt employees to ensure proper timekeeping and pay practices. It also specifically addresses issues that arise with regard to 24-hour operations including working with on-call employees.
• Booklet: Implementing the FLSA Overtime Changes: What Every Nonprofit Needs to Know: http://www.pbpatl.org/uncategorized/flsa-overtime-changes-what-every-nonprofit-needs-to-know/ – This booklet, published by Altera Payroll and Insurance, provides practical guidance and form communications to help organizations implement changes made necessary by the FLSA amendments effective December 1, 2016.
• Webcast: Get Your Organization Ready for the Fair Labor Standards Act Changes, delivered by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits: http://gcn.adobeconnect.com/p7cuzu4zryt/?OWASP_CSRFTOKEN=224fb966051590d1a3555f39412ee5b6296e0621d3163c55012b138be120ed64 – This webcast, delivered by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, provides practical advice regarding implementing changes within your organization, including addressing management, culture, financial, and technology concerns raised by the changes.
• Fact Sheet: FLSA Changes and Exemptions: http://www.pbpatl.org/resources/flsa-changes-and-exemptions-seyfarth-shaw-llp/ – This fact sheet, published by Seyfarth Shaw LLP, provides information about the changes to the FLSA effective December 1, 2016 and what they mean for employers. It also identifies and explains common exemptions from the minimum wage and overtime requirements under the FLSA.
Urban Recipe and Wholesome Wave Georgia: Two PBPA Clients Bringing Healthy Food to Atlantans in Need
Providing access to affordable, healthy food in disadvantaged communities is a defining mission of many nonprofits. Urban Recipe and Wholesome Wave Georgia are two of the local organizations working to meet this important need.
Urban Recipe (formerly known as Georgia Avenue Community Ministry) began in 1991 when founder Chad Hale learned about food cooperatives and decided to start one. The organization has since grown to form seven food co-ops, each of which is composed of fifty families. Co-ops meet biweekly and members work to sort and distribute the food amongst families while volunteers assist with unloading the food trucks or transporting food for elderly co-op members. Urban Recipe also partners with other food-based organizations to further community impact, such as collaborating on classes with Cooking Matters to teach healthy food education to co-op members. Ultimately, Urban Recipe seeks to affirm that “dignity tastes good” and to provide a sense of community and security by furthering access to food and food resources.
Urban Recipe has been a PBPA client since 2006. Volunteer attorneys including Sireesha Ghanta, Brian Harris, Nicole Ibbotson, Amanda Langston, Sara Loft, Anton Mertens, Amy Michigan, Carly Regan, Rick Rufolo, Logan Thore, Kabir Uddin, Stan Wasowski, Todd Williams, and Tamera Woodard have assisted with numerous projects, including employment issues, a name change, and the creation of their Urban Health clinic which operates with the help of volunteer doctors and nurses to provide free healthcare services.
Said Hale of the free legal assistance provided by PBPA volunteers, “on all sorts of fronts, Pro Bono Partnership has been there for us.” Executive Director Jeremy Lewis appreciates having the opportunity to get to know the attorney assigned to each matter and believes PBPA’s strength lies in the issue-focused partnership between every client and attorney. “I really think Pro Bono Partnership is one of the best nonprofit organizations in the city,” Lewis said, “and working with the attorneys who volunteer, we know that we’re standing on firm ground.”
Wholesome Wave Georgia began in 2009 and seeks to strengthen local food communities by empowering networks of farmers to facilitate access to and awareness of healthy food choices. The organization’s flagship program—Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP)—is now in effect at fifty farmers’ markets. DVCP allows participants to double the value of federal nutrition benefits from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and Women, Infant and Children (WIC) funding when used at participating farmers’ markets. Wholesome Wave Georgia also offers transportation to and from the markets on their Fresh Food buses, assists with the often confusing SNAP enrollment process, and has implemented a Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, which supports healthy lifestyles by prescribing fruits and vegetables to patients for redemption at farmers’ markets.
Wholesome Wave Georgia participated in PBPA’s Legal Check Up in 2014 and has since received assistance from volunteer attorneys including Noelle Abastillas, Jeff Adams, Clayton Coley, Zachary Crowe, Michael Deaton, Andrew Head, Jason Howard, Alison Musto, Dan Noice, W. Scott Ortwein, Sarah Parker, Gloria Robinson, Ellen Samuels, Bryan Stillwagon, Amanda Witt, and Steven Wong.
Executive Director Sara Berney found the Legal Check Up to be incredibly informative and appreciated how the attorneys took the organization step-by-step through each issue and prioritized and assigned the projects accordingly. She also commended the attorneys for how quickly each matter is resolved, especially those flagged as “urgent.”
“As a small organization, there are all sorts of legal questions that come up, and it could really put us in a bad situation,” Berney said.
Both organizations are celebrating milestones in the community this year. Urban Recipe will host their 25th Anniversary party at Mason Art Center on October 23, 2016 and Wholesome Wave Georgia hosted their 6th Annual Southern Chefs Potluck at the Inn at Serenbe on September 13, 2016.
Since January 1, 2016, 525 attorneys have volunteered for new matters with Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta! Click here for a list of individuals who have volunteered so far this year.
To: Isabella Lee, Alston & Bird
From: Advocates for Children
“Isabella [Lee] provided tremendous assistance, and so have all of the other attorneys with whom we have been paired. We are very grateful to have this opportunity through PBPA. The legal assistance and guidance we are receiving are of immeasurable benefit to our organization!”
To: Jennifer Burns, Equifax
From: Disabled American Veterans
“Thank you so much for stepping up and assisting the Disabled American Veterans, J.B. Connally, Chapter 2, Athens, GA, with our motorized scooter agreement. This agreement will ensure we are protected and the veterans will gain a valuable asset to assist them in a more comfortable living situation. Thanks again!”
To: Tim Murphy, Paul Hastings
“re:imagine/ATL is excited and grateful to have received a volunteer liability release. You were very thorough in your development of this waiver and we very much appreciate you taking out your time to create this. Now, thanks to your expertise, we can much better protect ourselves legally as we move forward with volunteers.”
To: Lisa Dow & Pamela Lina, Turner Enterprises, Inc.
From: Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI)
“On behalf of the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI), I would like to thank you for the wonderful products you developed to address our organization’s liability concerns. The event signage language and recommendations around placement in the event space received rave reviews. Likewise, our team was extremely receptive to the proposed participant agreement. The brevity and customization of the document make the content more accessible and less intimidating to our participants. It also reflected the fact that you ‘get’ us. We are so appreciative of your sincere interest in our organization and work, and grateful to have benefited from your generosity and insights!”
To: Teri Bouchard, Littler Mendelson
From: PAWS Atlanta
“I very much appreciate the time and effort you gave to PAWS. It was very helpful. Having access to PBPA’s legal expertise is an incredible resource to small nonprofits, such as PAWS. We are very grateful for your support.”