Posted on February 22, 2012

Happy Perkins, then-General Counsel of GE Energy, called a meeting back in 2004. He wanted to know if the Atlanta legal community was interested in bringing the Pro Bono Partnership model down south from New York. Attorneys would be paired with nonprofits in need of free legal assistance, opening up more pro bono opportunities to in-house and transactional lawyers. With an “if we build it, they will come” attitude, several corporations and law firms committed initial funding for the project.

Here we are almost eight years later and Happy’s vision has resulted in over 1500 Atlanta attorneys providing pro bono assistance to nonprofits. We honored Happy (yes, his real name) with our inaugural Founders Award at our annual Volunteer & Donor Appreciation Reception on January 24. AT&T and Sutherland, two of the original funders of the Partnership, received Corporation and Law Firm of the Year honors for the outstanding volunteer contributions of their attorneys. You can read more about all of the awardees and see photos from the reception in the article below.

Want to go to the reception next year? As always, the event is free (thanks to our sponsors) and we will invite everyone who volunteers or donates to us in 2012. Hint, hint …

Rachel
Rachel Epps Spears
Executive Director

Posted on February 22, 2012

To celebrate another successful year, Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta held its seventh annual appreciation reception for donors and volunteers. Over 100 attorneys gathered at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan on January 24, 2012 to recognize the incredible work accomplished by PBP-Atl volunteers this past year.

After PBP-Atl clients Jimmy Wilson of Loganville Community Ministry Village and Lauren O’Brien of Embraced Atlanta spoke about the impact of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta on their organizations, Executive Director Rachel Epps Spears thanked all of the volunteer attorneys who contributed free legal services valued at over $2 million to nonprofit organizations in 2011. Frabel glass peach sculptures were then presented to the following attorneys, law firms and corporations in recognition for outstanding volunteer achievement:

  • AT&T, Corporation of the Year
  • Sutherland, Law Firm of the Year
  • Volunteers of the Year:
    • John W. Mills, III of Barnes & Thornburg
    • Adrienne L. Smith of Sutherland
    • Darcy White of Paul Hastings
    • Thomas Federico of Turner Broadcasting System
    • Val Rusk of Turner Broadcasting System
    • Marion Tilson of AT&T

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta gave a special appreciation award to Datacert for their donation of the Passport matter management platform which has greatly increased the efficiency of the Partnership staff.

PBP-Atl also presented the inaugural Founders Award to Happy R. Perkins. Happy, who recently retired as General Counsel of GE Energy, played a pivotal role in organizing Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta and served on the organization’s Board for seven years. The Founders Award will be presented from time to time to recognize an individual who makes an outstanding contribution to Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta.

For the first time, PBPA-Atl offered sponsorships for the reception and generous contributions by the following businesses covered the expenses of the appreciation event:

  • Sustaining Sponsor
    • RR Donnelly
    • Pangea3
  • Supporting Sponsor
    • IVIZE
    • Counsel on Call

“Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta would not exist without our volunteers and donors,” said Spears. “This event gives us the opportunity to thank them and to highlight the extraordinary work of some of our outstanding volunteers.”

Posted on February 22, 2012

In the Spring of 2000, Bill Maness, Recreation Director at The Gym at Peachtree, noticed a group of Latino children getting off the school bus across the street from Peachtree Presbyterian Church. He learned that these children had parents who spoke little to no English and could not help them with their homework. He invited the students to come to the church for after school tutoring and invited their parents to come for English as a Second Language classes. A year later, LaAmistad was born.

LaAmistad

Today, LaAmistad serves 75 students and 40 families on a daily basis, helping the students achieve their highest academic potential through its after school program and helping parents better communicate with their children through its parent educational initiative. LaAmistad is more than a community program; it is a source of comprehensive support for families that for various circumstances do not have the means to attain their highest degree of success.

Cat McAfee, Director of LaAmistad, tells us about the substantial impact of the organization on the participating families: “LaAmistad families love the program because they receive so much support. We act as advocates in the school when needed and assist the parents in communication with the teachers.”

LaAmistad’s programs have led to measurable results. Participants have received a total of 32 school-sponsored awards in various academic subjects and 15 middle school students in the program participated in the Latino Youth Leadership Conference where they learned about future educational and leadership opportunities. Twenty-five Latino parents have learned to read, write and speak English in order to better equipped to attend to their family’s needs.

LaAmistad participated in one of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s Nonprofit Legal Check Ups in December and since then the organization has been matched with volunteer attorneys Leticia Alfonso of AT&T and Rupert Barkoff of Kilpatrick Townsend. Leticia is reviewing LaAmistad’s client application and liability waiver forms and Rupert is drafting a license agreement for other organizations to implement LaAmistad’s model in communities nationwide.

Posted on August 16, 2011

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta volunteers provided more than $2.3 million worth of legal services to Atlanta nonprofits last year. The time and talents of our attorney volunteers make a big difference the nonprofits they serve. Below are some “shout outs” to our volunteers from their appreciative nonprofit clients:

A cake celebrating Jeannette Rankin
Foundation’s new bylaws

To: Nicholas Farrell of Hillenbrand and Matt Madison of Troutman Sanders
From: The Jeanette Rankin Foundation
“It was several months ago when you embarked on this project as a volunteer attorney with Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. I want to extend my sincere thanks to you for your work on our new bylaws to have them conform to normal standards for non-profit organizations as well as Georgia law. Thank you for your guidance through this process.”

To: Kevin Glidewell of Turner Broadcasting System
From: BikeAthens
“On behalf of the Bike Athens Board of Directors, please allow me to express our appreciation for the pro bono assistance you and your team has provided us in the matter of obtaining state and federal trademark protection. Throughout the process you were forthcoming and responsive to the questions we raised. It has been a pleasure working with you. If you ever find yourself in Athens please let us know, as we would love to share a bicycle ride with you”

To: Richard Rimer of Troutman Sanders
From: Renovacion Conyugal
“I just wanted to let you know that we just received the official certificates from the Trademark Office for the 3 marks that Richard Rimer from Troutman Sanders presented in our behalf. We are so happy! We never dreamed that we could have this possibility. This is one of the many wonderful things that Pro Bono makes a reality for small nonprofits like us. You are making a difference! Richard has been fantastic! We have never gotten this without his dedication and genuine interest for us.”

To: John Jett of Kilpatrick Stockton LLP
From: Compassion House
“Thank you so much for all of the hard work and expertise you put into developing the Privacy Policy for Compassion House! We are blessed by your generosity and skill. This will be a valuable addition to the work we do here. It is a good feeling to know that we are doing things correctly and that we have received such good legal counsel.”

To: Carolyn Wingfield of AT&T and Frank Riggs of Troutman Sanders
From: East Atlanta Community Association
“Thank you for your time and diligence on EACA’s Neighbor in Need initiative. Your work has set the organization on firm ground, so that it can continue its work in improving seniors’ quality of life. Your advice and direction has put our passion on stable ground. With your expertise, EACA can confidently fulfill its mission for years to come.”