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Posted on July 10, 2018
A group volunteers and athletes in Alpharetta.

“Play tennis, make friends, live life” is the simple 3-prong motto that Special Populations Tennis Program abides by to enrich lives through the sport of tennis. “Special Pops Tennis” accomplishes this motto by providing free tennis training for children and young adults with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to be a part of the expansive tennis community in the Atlanta area and giving them skills and lifelong friendships.

Founded in 2005, Special Pops Tennis connected local tennis enthusiasts who had worked with Special Olympics with year-round coaching opportunities. The organization began with 26 athlete participants at three sites in Gwinnett, Fulton, and Cobb counties. Thirteen years later, Special Pops Tennis is making large strides in fulfilling its mission to provide life skills and friendships through the sport of tennis to more than 650 athletes at 15 sites. Tennis players from throughout the Metro Atlanta area volunteer with Special Pops Tennis and build relationships with the inspiring athletes.

Unfortunately, not all athletes interested in playing tennis have the immediate resources. As far as Special Pops Tennis is concerned, there should be no barriers between an athlete’s desire to play tennis and his or her ability to do so. The organization provides racquets and all other equipment for those who do not have their own, and even provides gently-worn athletic clothing and tennis shoes when needed.

Special Pops Tennis has multiple levels at which athletes can choose to participate. There are Spring Training Academies, where the athletes choose a tennis-related goal and the coaches work to ensure the athlete is able to meet his or her goal by the end of the training season. Athletes can choose to participate in Spring Training just for the sake of playing recreationally, or they can enroll to prepare for the Special Olympics Georgia Summer Games. Athletes can also participate in the Special Populations Unified Doubles (SPUD) Tennis League, which allows them opportunities to play on a doubles team with a “unified partner,” typically a traditional local tennis player, and compete against similarly-skilled athletes on other teams.

A group of athletes and volunteers at a tournament.

In addition to athletic training, Special Pops Tennis provides their athletes in Atlanta with opportunities to make friends not only in their own communities but also in other cities throughout the country. Coaches travel with the athletes to tournaments spanning the U.S., allowing the athletes to expand their friendships and explore new cities. The athletes are placed in tournament divisions according to the Special Olympics North America rating system and play similarly-skilled athletes. Recently, several organization members and athletes traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, where the athletes had a blast competing and made many new friends along the way. Parents are welcome to travel with their children to tournaments, but many parents who are familiar with the organization stay back and let their children travel with the coaches. Tournaments allow athletes to enhance their social skills, make friends, and build confidence through these new relationships; and travel experiences can be life-altering for many of the athletes.

A recent success came from the Special Olympics Georgia Summer Games, where an athlete competed after training with Special Pops Tennis for three years and won his division. This athlete was accepted to Clemson’s highly-selective adaptive curriculum program, which only accepts twelve students per school year. His parents wrote a heartfelt letter to Special Pops Tennis sharing that the organization had changed his life and provided him with life skills, confidence, and friendships that he would not have had otherwise.

As the Executive Director, Jim’s primary concern is finding ways and means for Special Pops Tennis to continue to grow strategically. His top priority is and always will be ensuring that the organization serves the athletes in a meaningful manner. His hope is to foster an inclusive organization with a strong foundation so that it can continue well beyond its current staff members. In every decision as the Executive Director, Jim pauses to ask “what is best for the athletes?” If it is not in their best interest, the choice is simple – it is not the right call.

A group of athletes and volunteers in Alpharetta.

Special Pops Tennis found out about Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta through the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and has been a client for two years. According to Executive Director Jim Hamm, this partnership has allowed Special Pops Tennis access to legal services that it either would have gone without or that would have greatly detracted from the organization’s ability to provide the highest quality experience for the athletes. Thanks in part to pro bono legal services, Special Pops Tennis was able to dedicate funding to opening 15 locations and now serves a far greater number of athletes than any other similar organization in the nation.

Jim feels indebted to his PBPA staff attorney, Lori Shapiro, sharing that “Lori has been terrific in guiding us through the process. All of the attorneys who have given their resources have been absolutely spot on in understanding who we are and bringing their expertise to the table to help us be more aligned with a best practice organization.”

Several PBPA volunteer attorneys have assisted Special Pops Tennis with legal matters ranging from drafting background check policies to registering trademarks, including Jason Bernstein of Barnes and Thornburg, Umarah Ali, Bill Zawrotny, and Patrick Baldwin of Jones Day, Alan Poole of Troutman Sanders, Ryan Behndleman of Kitchens New Cleghorn, Branson Lee of Alston & Bird, Kathryn Spencer of Southern Company, and Sawyer Duncan of King & Spalding.

Jim spotlighted Erin Reeves McGinnis from Nelson Mullins who helped create and refine Special Pops Tennis’ policy and procedure manual. Jim could not believe the effort Erin dedicated to the project and was overwhelmed by the quality of her work. Most importantly to Jim, she understood their mission so well that he felt as if she was a part of the Special Pops Tennis community.

Posted on May 2, 2018

Does your nonprofit organization do any of the following?

    Are you providing MARTA passes or parking to your employees? If the answer is yes, read on. If the answer is “only through a pre-tax deduction from the employees” paychecks,” read on!
    There are four scenarios we want to highlight:
    1. 501(c)(3) organization pays for MARTA passes or nearby parking for employees
    2. 501(c)(3) organization purchases MARTA passes or parking at a nearby lot and then passes those costs on to employees through a pre-tax deduction to the employee’s pay
    3. 501(c)(3) organization has parking lot spaces included in its lease and provides the parking free to its employees
    4. 501(c)(3) organization owns the parking lot and provides parking free to its employees
    All four of these situations raise tax implications for 501(c)(3) nonprofits under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Act”).

    The Act attempted to treat 501(c)(3) nonprofits the same as for-profit businesses that can no longer take a deduction for these expenses by requiring nonprofits to pay unrelated business income tax on such expenses. The law does not follow the traditional UBI rule (income derived from trade or business activities not substantially related to the tax-exempt organization’s purposes is taxable as if earned by a comparable for-profit enterprise), making it more difficult to understand.

Posted on April 30, 2018

Join Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta for an evening of beers,​ camaraderie and trivia! 

Start brushing up your trivia game. Prizes will be awarded to the winners. Keep an eye out for clues hidden in our newsletters, on our social media pages including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and even on our website.

When: Wednesday, June 27, 2018, 5 pm to 8 pm
Where: Second Self Brewery
Who: PBPA volunteers, clients, staff, and friends!
How: Tickets are $30 ($40 at the door). Trivia cards are an additional $10.

Click here to buy tickets!

Presented by:

Posted on April 27, 2018

The IRS is launching a sweeping effort to advise taxpayers about the importance of doing a “paycheck checkup” as soon as possible to ensure that they are withholding properly from their paychecks. It is highly recommended that employers, including nonprofit corporations, share this information with their employees as soon as possible. Please see this link for an article providing additional information you should share with your employees so they can determine if they are withholding correctly from their paychecks.

Posted on March 29, 2018

Many organizations seek to improve the lives of children. Yet few organizations attempt to achieve this important goal by proactively facilitating the creation of strong and supportive familial environments. This focus on the family is a hallmark of Lumpkin County Family Connection’s approach to ensuring that children are equipped to achieve in the classroom and in life.

Family Connection is a statewide initiative in Georgia, consisting of 159 community collaborative partnerships committed to making measurable improvements for children and families in Georgia. The organization has a large network within the state: every county has its own local Family Connection Collaborative Organization. At the county level, each Family Connection works with local schools, nonprofits and others to collect data about the issues confronting the community’s children and families. After analyzing the relevant data, Family Connection creates goals narrowly tailored to address the specific needs of the surrounding community. Lumpkin County Family Connection has responded to the needs of its community by pursuing two extremely important goals. First, Lumpkin County Family Connection facilitates the prevention of child abuse and neglect within the community. Second, the organization helps every child succeed in the classroom.

In pursuit of these goals, Lumpkin County Family Connection participates in several initiatives and programs. The organization helps to run a Family Advocacy Program which places an advocate in each elementary school within Lumpkin County. This family advocate works with at-risk children, creates a plan to assist them, and offers education to parents in both group and one-on-one settings.

The organization also participates in a school supplies drive, provides holiday gifts to disadvantaged children, and facilitates the delivery of food to children who have been identified as food insecure through the volunteer-run “Back Pack Buddies” program. Lumpkin County Family Connection also trains adults in the community and equips them to identify, handle and prevent incidents of sexual abuse through Stewards of Children. This endeavor has enjoyed great success in Lumpkin County. In fact, Stewards of Children of Lumpkin County was the first Stewards of Children affiliate to train 10% of the adults in the community on sexual abuse prevention.

Finally, Lumpkin County Family Connection helps to operate a mentor program that allows volunteers from the community to serve as role models for local children. The volunteers are required to go through extensive background checks and training and to spend at least 30 minutes of meaningful time a week with a child from their community.

Lumpkin County Family Connection became a PBPA client in April 2016 and participated in one of PBPA’s Legal Check Ups that same year. For Brigette Barker, the Director of Lumpkin County Family Connection, this was an incredibly valuable experience: “[m]y board chair and I really enjoyed participating in the nonprofit Legal Check Up. It was a great opportunity to identify our legal needs and develop a timeline and strategic plan around our needs.”

Volunteer attorneys including John Griffee, Rob LaPorta, Garland Reid, Dara Mann, Keilee Padgett, Reiko Feaver, Brennan Bolt, Matt Strumph, Montoya Ho-Sang and Tim Phillips have assisted Lumpkin County Family Connection by addressing questions related to fundraising and employment and by drafting contracts, board policies and documentation for volunteers.

Ms. Barker praised the caliber of the work produced by the volunteer attorneys, as well as the speed with which matters are resolved. Overall, Ms. Barker feels that her organization has reaped immense benefit from working with Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta and its cadre of professional, experienced, and quality volunteer attorneys.

Posted on March 27, 2018

Thank you to the 227 attorney volunteers (as of March 27th) who gave our nonprofit clients pro bono advice, so far in 2018! We could not have done it without you! Click here to add your name to the list below!

Daniel Beale
Shaila Manjiyani
Marion Tilson
Luanna Petti
Mindy Simon
Isaac Yilma
George Akers
Anne Compton-Brown
Sidney Simms
Lillian Martin
Ashley Miller
Spencer Pryor
Donovan Potter
Bisi Adeyemo
Leanna Degenhart
Jordan Smart
Heather Howdeshell
Brandon Van Balen
Meredith Shaughnessy
Felix Faerber
Michael Gurion
Shereen Baban
Alla Raykin
Charlie Kearns
Elizabeth O’Connell
Ramsey Kazem
Laura Gardner
Michael DelGaudio
Michael Hobbs, Jr.
Rick McMurtry
Steven Kennedy
Jeffrey Douglass
Lesley O’Neill
Don Prather
Jason Huff
Rena Kelley
Anne Cox-Johnson
Damian Georgino
John Mills
Amy Allen
Bryan Skeen
Constance Brewster
Ashley Pruitt
Valerie King
Nedom Haley
Michael Williford
John Griffee
Tim David
Julia Pozo
Timothy Holdsworth
John Harbin
Robert Lockwood
Michelle Johnson
Suhail Seth
Marsha Bailey
Michael Bishop
Sara Weed
Kathy Solley
William Rothschild
Kristina Griffin
Katelyn Fredericks
Chris Mann
Amanda Langston
Bob Edwards
Devin Gordon
William Baucom
Zach Eyster
Alex Holt
Flo O’Neal
Isabella Lee
Amy Jensen
Shola Omojokun
Kathryn Hauch
Maureen Sullivan
Amy Jones
Vera H. Powell
Forrest Neal
Gerry Williams
Marshall Sanders
David Kelly
Katrina Quicker
Thomas Federico
Jeffrey Kirsh
Mollie Davis
Stuart Neiman
Catherine Klein
Tamaron Houston
Gary Bunce
Matthew Yungwirth
Maayan Lattin
Liz Wheeler
Michele Stumpe
Felicia Xu
Patrick Costello
Ryan Schneider
Ian Calhoun
Val Rusk
Leah Singleton
Brian Fielden
Sade Tidwell
Ted Boehm
Charlie Suessmith
James Lamberth
Jenny Lambert
Kasia Hebda
Frank Chen
Jeanene Jobst
Meredith Boudin
Karen Shelton
Lee Discher
Jenny Sabo
Matt Carlucci
Allie Smith
John Bowler
Todd Williams
Richard Litwin
Robert Dumbacher
Creighton Frommer
Douglas Newell
Leah Braukman
Patrick Becker
Patrick Seamens
Ayanna Crockett
D’Ree Cooper
Emily Prince
Katie Balthrop
Alyson Pirio
Mary Claire Smith
Cass Hollis
Meredith Silliman
Chris Balch
Jason Bernstein
Emily Breece
Alex Smith
Austin Padgett
Jennifer Gruber
Madison Roberts
Kelley Gass
Katrina Hodges
Alexandra Kennelly
Jacob Stewart
Penny Wofford
Chad Almy
Halli Cohn
Jakeema Bascoe
Todd Goodwin
Jana Korhonen
Jennifer Woodruff
Jonathan Giesen
Steffan Finnegan
Samantha Smith Lewis
Erin Fortney
Robert Crewdson
Wright Dempsey
Deborah Ausburn
Kelsey Donnalley
Gail Gunnells
Shannon Cox
Steve Cummings
Andy Much
Neil Ginn
Sarah Stephens
Melissa Siegelman
Alan Bakowski
Faith Knight Myers
Kaylan Meaza
Alexis Simpson
Sarah Holland
Antoine Gary
Theresa Clark
Charles Hodges
Ryan Kerr
Sarah Loya
Caroline Brown
Chanel Patrick
Charles (Chuck) McDonald
Carol Williamson
Baylie Fry
Dan Brown
Lee Barkley
Scott Voelker
Lisa Godwin
Philip Cooper
Glenn Lyon
Allysa Hopson
Joshua Richey
Kaitlyn Pettet
Brandon Moulard
Umarah Ali
Bill Zawrotny
Andrew Yates
Matt Strumph
Charles Thimmesch
Emily Avant
Lindsey Mann
Timothy Phillips
Alan Hastings
Scott Edwards
Rhona Reynolds
Jasmine Cobbs
Caela Abrams
Jessica Hunt
Suzanne Russo
Benjamin Martin
Pedro Dorado
Emily Borna
Ballard Yelton
Paul Fancher
Julien Dumont
Marianna Faircloth
Anna Holcombe
Jeffrey Murray
Erica Svoboda
Emily Schifter
Evan Pontz
Bert Brannen
Genevieve Razick
Joel Rogers
Samara Pals-Cramer
Andy Immerman
Marshall Barton
Lucas Asper
Victoria Nsikak
Marty Heller
Ashley Halfman
Hannah Loo
Vita Zeltser

Posted on March 27, 2018

Since January 1, 2018, 227 attorneys have volunteered for new matters with PBPA! Click here for a list of individuals who have volunteered so far this year.

To: Carly Regan & Todd Williams, Turner
From: Ferst Foundation

Carly Regan and Todd Williams at Turner are fantastic! They have helped us immensely with trademarks, are amazingly proactive and have truly gone above and beyond to ensure that we have all the bases covered. I also love that they genuinely care about our mission. I feel like they are part of our team. Just recently, with their help, we discovered that there was a trademark conflict with our new logo design. We got right on revising the design, got it completed and submitted to Carly and Todd. Within 3 hours, Carly responded to give us a “thumbs up” to proceed with the new logo! In all, it took us 8 days to go from a serious design conflict to a new logo design that we can trademark. Because of that, we hardly missed a beat with our rebranding effort. Incredible!

To: Michael Del Gaudio, Troutman Sanders
From: Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage & Disability

Michael DelGaudio deserves an award for patience! It took over a year to get approval on the re-write of our bylaws and articles of incorporation. He patiently answered [our] questions and explained the bylaws using plain language. He walked us through the process to file the amended articles and followed up on the status. He did an excellent job!

To: George Sewell, ThyssenKrupp
From: HopeWorks

Not only has George Sewell helped us with numerous legal forms and matters, he has done so with professionalism, embracing our ministry and our mission.

To: Jenny Case, Nelson Mullins
From: CASA Paulding

Jenny Case with Nelson Mullins updated our personnel handbook from start to finish. It took weeks to complete and she did a wonderful job. In fact, we have shared it with one other CASA program!

To: Shane Lord, The Home Depot
From: Peace Prep

Shane Lord has been a delight to work with and has gone above and beyond to ensure we get projects done, but also is diligent in checking in our organization’s ability to complete its stated purpose. I’m always encouraged to talk with Shane about more than just the current project and his genuine interest has been wind in my sails.

Posted on March 26, 2018

ATLANTA – March 21, 2018 – Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, a tax-exempt organization that matches volunteer lawyers with local nonprofits in need of free legal counsel, recognized outstanding volunteer attorneys for their pro bono efforts at its annual reception on Tuesday, March 20 at the office of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.

Equifax received the “Corporation of the Year Award” for its contributions of time and legal expertise in helping Atlanta-area nonprofits. Fourteen Equifax attorneys worked on 19 pro bono matters in 2017 including Julia Houston, Chief Transformation Officer at Equifax, who accepted the award.

Paul Hastings received the “Law Firm of the Year Award” for its outstanding efforts in taking legal matters referred by PBPA. Over 400 Paul Hastings attorneys have volunteered with PBPA since 2005.

The 2018 Champion Award went to AT&T which, through its predecessor BellSouth, was a founding supporter of PBPA and has provided both significant volunteer and financial assistance to the organization since 2005.

PBPA also honored several individuals with a “Volunteer of the Year Award,” including Kathy Solley of Nelson Mullins, Anna Holcombe of Rollins, Brent Houk of UPS, and Jamie Konn of DLA Piper. PBPA also recognized the team of volunteer attorneys who assisted Hosea Feed the Hungry & Homeless with the relocation of its headquarters: An Tran and Mike Lee of Jones Day and Robert Shaw and Joseph Scibilia of Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton.

Elizabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Feed the Hungry & Homeless and a PBPA client, shared how the legal services provided through PBPA have aided her organization, including managing an unexpected relocation. She thanked the attorneys that volunteered over 250 hours to guide Hosea to its new operational home, at a value of over $90,000 in legal fees.

“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 Sponsor Aprio, and Supporting Sponsors Axiom Law, Discovery Litigation, Donnelley Financial Solutions, 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 thirteen years ago, PBPA has assigned and supported over 3,000 volunteer lawyers in aiding over 850 nonprofit clients. In 2017 alone, PBPA provided free legal services valued over $4.5 million to Atlanta-area nonprofits. PBPA is funded by donations from corporations, law firms, foundations, bar sections and individuals.

Posted on December 20, 2017

Mindy Doster and Will Ledbetter recently joined PBPA’s Board of Directors. Mindy Doster is Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Payment Services for U.S. Bank and General Counsel of Elavon, the bank’s Atlanta-based payments company. Will Ledbetter is Senior Counsel at Southern Company Services.

Per her duties for US Bank and Elavon, Mindy oversees a team of attorneys and legal professionals in the United States, United Kingdom, Poland and Mexico. Before joining Elavon, she worked at Long, Aldridge & Norman as an associate and as a law clerk for the Honorable Robert L. Vining, Jr., Senior U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia. Mindy graduated from Duke University and Vanderbilt University School of Law. In addition to volunteering for PBPA, Mindy’s community involvement activities include work with the Marist School, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“I am grateful for PBPA’s support of in-house attorneys, particularly those in small Atlanta-based teams like mine, and I appreciate the opportunity to give back to PBPA through board leadership,” said Mindy. Under her leadership, Elavon’s entire legal department volunteered with PBPA in 2016.

Will works with Southern Company and its subsidiaries on securities and corporate governance practices. Prior to joining Southern Company, Will spent seven years at King & Spalding as an associate. He is a graduate of Rice University and Harvard Law School. Will’s pro bono interests include working with Warrior 2 Citizen as well as PBPA clients Georgia Micro Enterprise Networks and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs.“I am honored to join the PBPA board and excited to help further PBPA’s mission of connecting local nonprofits with vital legal services,” said Will Ledbetter.

Posted on December 15, 2017

Since January 1, 717 attorneys have volunteered for new matters with PBPA! Click here for a list of individuals who have volunteered so far this year.

To: Joe Freeman, Cox Communications
From: The Drake House

On the behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and many families that we serve, please accept our most sincere thanks for working with us on the review of our Drake House Employee Manual. We truly appreciate all of your expertise in this area!

To: Jessica MacAllister & Christine Morgan, Jones Day
From: Refuge Coffee

I’m happy (elated) to report that we closed on Friday!! Jessica and Chris are rock stars! Writing very inadequate thank you notes to them this morning.

To: Evelyn Teague
From: Circle of Friends: Celebrating Life

Thank you for carefully reviewing Circle of Friends: Celebrating Life’s documents, asking the right questions, providing expert guidance, and crafting our Financial Policy & Procedures Manual. Your contribution is significant and will help Circle of Friends operate by non-profit financial management best practices as we continue to provide community prevention training, and Circle of Friends Impact Scholarship to girls and young women survivors of trafficking.

To: Peter Duitsman, Turner
From: Camp Twitch and Shout

Thank you so much for all of your help and support – I know a lot of the production company’s requests were last minute as you were heading out of town so I really appreciate all of your help and support with this matter. They were very considerate and respectful when they got to camp and it was a pleasure having them there.

To: Alex Strang, Nelson Mullins
From: ISDD – Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability

I am so grateful for this help! I don’t even want to think about how it might have gone without PBPA and Alex! I had never signed an office lease before and so had no idea of the many pitfalls and considerations that there were involved. Thanks to Alex, we didn’t have any problems at all!