Posted on November 22, 2011

Imagine sending your child to a school with a student teacher ratio of 6:1, where students from all socioeconomic backgrounds are excelling, and are well above the national average in every subject, and to top it all off, the school is free. While that may sound too good to be true, it isn’t. Thanks to the work of Dean Leeper, the founding principal of the Kindezi School, several Atlanta families have chosen the charter school for their child.

Kindezi School Students

Unfortunately, not every family can enroll their children. In fact, the waitlist for Kindezi School, which currently offers grades K through three, is over 300 kids. In order for a child to be admitted to study at the Kindezi School- he or she must win the lottery—literally.

The reason behind the demand is simple: the school has adopted a Differentiated Learning Plan for every student. Teachers spend hours of daily one-on-one time with students in order to determine how each child learns most effectively and adjust the curriculum accordingly.

“Some students need a lot of love and discipline. We can give them that support,” noted Leeper.

The Kindezi School puts an emphasis on both the arts and leadership. Teachers integrate the arts into math, social studies, science, and language arts. The school believes that this integration facilitates a deeper and more engaged learning experience. Further, the school focuses on teaching students to examine the importance of leadership and service inside the classroom, in their local community, and as global citizens.

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has matched the Kindezi School with several volunteer attorneys. For example, Joey Silver of DLA Piper assisted with the incorporation process and Happy Perkins and Jules Frauenhofer of GE Energy, along with several King & Spalding attorneys, handled the 501(c)(3) application process. Katie Manley and Windsor Adams of Paul Hastings advised the school on labor and employment issues and Jeremy Hilsman of Kilpatrick Townsend is currently providing assistance reviewing a lease.

Posted on November 16, 2011

“I don’t know what I don’t know.”

We hear that a lot from our nonprofit clients. Faced with an overwhelming array of laws, rules and regulations governing tax-exempt organizations, our clients often have trouble understanding the rules, much less staying in compliance with them. In an effort to prevent problems rather than just try to fix them, we launched a campaign of workshops, webcasts and website resources to educate nonprofits about the legal issues they face.

Each month, we present three workshops and webcasts on topics such as “How to Run a Board Meeting,” “Employment Law 101” and “Legal Issues with Social Media.” Our workshops are presented in partnership with organizations like the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Foundation Center or TechBridge in order to reach the broadest audience. We partner with Georgia Legal Services to present one workshop each month via webcast so that the viewers do not have to leave their desks.

After our old cameras malfunctioned, we used funds from
the Charles M. and Mary D. Grant Foundation to purchase a new one.

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta recently received a $25,000 grant from the Charles M. and Mary D. Grant Foundation in order to help fund 72 workshops over the next two years. Our first expenditure of the funds was the purchase of a new webcam. See above for dramatic “before and after” shots using the old camera (which conveniently broke down shortly after we received the grant) and the new camera. Our old camera malfunctioned during the Legal Issues for Nonprofits that Work with Children webcast presented by Meghan Magruder and Shelby Guilbert of King & Spalding. The new webcam helped viewers clearly see and hear the Legal Issues of Social Networking webcast presented by Lael Bellamy of ING Americas and Justin Connell of Elarbee, Thompson, Sapp & Wilson. Thank you to the Charles M. and Mary D. Grant Foundation for recognizing the positive impact that our educational programs have on the sustainability of nonprofit organizations.

Posted on November 30, 2010

Prior to 2009, only 3% of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s annual revenues came from individual donations. Most of our funding came from law firms and corporations. With the challenging economy, we realized that we had to diversify our funding sources, but we had never gotten much traction with individual donors. Over 75% of our individual donations came from Board members. What could we do to get individuals excited about making a personal gift in the middle of a recession?

Enter SunTrust. The SunTrust Bank Foundation suggested a challenge grant. If we raised $25,000 in such donations from first-time givers, the Foundation would match individual donations of $100 or more.. For an organization that had raised less than $2500 in individual donations in 2008, the challenge was a daunting but exciting one!

The SunTrust Challenge was announced on November 23, 2009, and with the help of strong year-end giving season, we were already half-way to our goal by December 31, 2009. Donations slowed down with the new year but on September 30, 2010, with help from a fundraising event hosted by the Association of Corporate Counsel – Georgia Chapter and King & Spalding, we reached the $25,000 mark!

Our next challenge will be to keep up this momentum in individual donations. So please keep Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta in mind as you plan your year-end giving.

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta would like to thank the SunTrust Bank Foundation and the following individuals who gave $100 or more during the SunTrust Challenge (November 23, 2009 – September 30, 2010):

Partner ($1000+)
Tom Bishop
Cass Brewer
Briley Brisendine
Ginger and Scott Burton
Virginia Carron
Ben Garren
Betsy and Daryl Griswold
Corb Hankey
Julia Houston
Mike Kline
Faith Knight Myers
Reggie O’Shields
Happy Perkins
Shannon Pierce
Tom Rawls
Pat Roberts
Debbie Segal & Randy Cadenhead
Rachel Spears
Rex Veal
Julie Young
Sponsor ($500 to $999)
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Allen
Paul Baisier
Bethany Cooper
Dwight Davis
Robert Debusk
Amy & Peter Dosik
Michele Garren
Sally Hogsette
Patricia Kardon
Lisa Keyes
Frank Landgraff
James Meadows
Mary Anthony Merchant
Tracy Plott
Richard Schneider
George Sewell
Darcy White
Contributor ($250-$499)
Amelia Barker
Selina Beene
Lillian Caudle
Jo Ann Cooper
Theresa Hammond
Mitzi Hill
Sean Honeywill
Lisa Jern
John Jones
Denise Miller
Floyd Newton
Vivek Patel
Andrea Pendleton
Silas Pendleton
Sandy Pon
Mason Stephenson
Kent Webb
Donor ($100-$249)
Akinlabi Afolayan
Marcia Bansley
Rupert Barkoff
Scott Bates
Pearson Beardsley
Suellen Bergman
Matt Block
Bruce Bowers
John Brumbaugh
Carol and Joel Burk
Laura Ellyson
Halli Cohn
Stanley Coker
George Cole
Phillip Cooper
Jerry Cox
Clint Crosby
Hugh Davenport
Tyler Dempsey
Simone Denny
Karen Dobson
Stephen Dolinger
Kirk Domescik
Patrice Duncan
Allison Dyer
Alice Eason Jenkins
Tracy Ediger
Joseph Freeman
Grace Fricks
Rick Fuentes
Mary Galinski
Neil Ginn
Chad Hale
Nedom Haley
Jeff Handler
John Harbin
Sandra Jewel Hatcher
William Holby
Brian Holmes
Hope Family Ministry
Jason Howard
Heather Howdeshell
Clay Howell
Sarah Isabel
Rober Jackson
M. Hill Jeffries
Matt Jewell
Weyman Johnson
Shawne Keenan
Teresa Kennedy
Lisa Keyes
Valerie King
Leslie Klemperer
Caroline LaFleur
Patricia Lamar
Sue Laney
Chris Lang
Kathie Lee
Dean Leeper
Charlie Lester
L. Joseph Loveland
Sarah Lowe
Kelly MacLanahan
Mona Maerz
Meghan Macgruder
Catherine Manavi
Catherine McClellan
Phillip McClendon
Teri McClure
Rick McMurtry
Robyn Miller
Toni Millner
Joshua Moore
Barbara Morgan
Matthew Morrison
Stuart Neiman
Lisa Norwood
Judy Nussbaum
Kara Ong
Mark Padilla
Billy Palmer
Amy Panessa
James Pardo
Mike Pavento
Ray Persons
Tim Phillips
Richard Rimer
Alan Rosselot
Scott Rotter
Valerie Rusk
James Sanders
Steve Schaetzel
Leon Scott
Lori Shapiro
Rita Sheffey
Jeremy Silverman
Tim Silvis
Adrienne Smith
Susan Smith
Kathyrn Solley
Farah Spainhour
Charles Sperling
Robert Steed
Stephen Stone
Virginia Stratton
Joan Stuart
John Tanner
Susan Tarnower
Virginia Wadsworth
Daniel Warren
Lisa Williams
Carolyn Wingfield
Scott Wright
Posted on November 30, 2010

The Association of Corporate Counsel-Georgia Chapter and King & Spalding teamed up this September to provide a unique fundraiser supporting the work of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. This year’s event combined CLE opportunities, cocktails, and a silent auction in the inaugural “CLE Jamboree.” The fundraiser was held on September 30th at King & Spalding and raised over $16,000 to support the Partnership. Additionally, the event helped Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta reach their $25,000 goal in the SunTrust Challenge. Rachel Epps Spears, Executive Director of the Partnership, remarked that “this year’s event exceeded my expectations.”

Over 100 attorneys attended the half-day CLE event which featured a keynote address by Paul Clement, Former Solicitor General of the United States. That evening, attendees were treated to a cocktail reception and silent auction.

While this year’s event featured a new CLE format, the fundraiser was actually the 4th annual ACC-GA event benefiting Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. Past events featured golf and tennis tournaments and a spa day. In the past four years, ACC-GA has raised about $200,000 for the Partnership. “Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta is incredibly grateful to ACC-GA for its generous and loyal support of our work,” said Spears. “They have been our biggest cheerleaders and our largest single source of funding.”

Special thanks to Betsy Griswold, President of ACC-GA, and Paul Murphy of King & Spalding for taking the lead in organizing the event.

Posted on November 3, 2010

According to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence, 1.3 million women are physically assaulted by an intimate partner every year in the United States. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner.

S.H.A.R.E. House Quilt

In response to this tragic situation, battered women’s shelters such as the S.H.A.R.E House, in Douglasville, Georgia, have made it their mission to offer a safe place for victims of domestic violence. The S.H.A.R.E. House’s 24-hour emergency shelter provides 25 beds to battered and homeless women and children, as well as three meals per day.

The S.H.A.R.E. House is devoted to bringing a sense of order and stability into the lives of women and children affected by domestic violence. The organization offers seven transitional apartments to help get women get back on their feet and take back their lives. Women who participate in the transitional program can receive job-readiness training, enroll in school, and take advantage of employer connections. Support groups, such as parenting classes and life-skills classes, are offered to battered women, and children who come from violent homes are also provided counseling.

Of the work that Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has done for this deserving organization, S.H.A.R.E. House executive director Teresa Smith has said, “we greatly appreciate the knowledge and support that the volunteer attorneys have provided to S.H.A.R.E House. Their compassion for our needs as a nonprofit and willingness to work with us and guide the organization on issues when legal services are not available have been outstanding.”

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has matched the S.H.A.R.E. House with several volunteer attorneys to strengthen the legal health of the organization. Currently, Diane Prucino of Kilpatrick Stockton is advising the S.H.A.R.E. House on an employment-related matter; and Tamera Woodard of Schiff Hardin is making revisions to the employee handbook. John Lewis of the Coca-Cola Company and Jill Wasserman of King & Spalding advised the S.H.A.R.E. House during a recent Nonprofit Legal Check–Up organized by Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. The organization is currently seeking assistance from a volunteer attorney with revising its client handbook and addressing liability concerns.

Posted on February 2, 2010

Studies have shown that over 80% of children of prisoners will one day be incarcerated themselves. These children grow up without the support of one or both of their parents. kidz2leaders teaches children of prisoners that they are in charge of their destiny, and while the statistics say one thing, they can grow up to be whoever they want.

kidz2leaders began in 1999 to help change the lives of prisoners’ children and to break the vicious cycle of incarceration. They teach these often overlooked children leadership, social skills, and financial responsibility. Most importantly kidz2leaders provides these children with emotional and spiritual support.

kidz2leaders starts with a week-long fun-filled camp, camp hope®. Third through fifth graders learn to rise above their circumstances with sports, art, singing, camp fires, and praise and worship time. Seventh through ninth graders who have been with the program at least two years attend the Leadership Training Academy. This program teaches children to have self-control, develop group strategies, and create personal goals and ideals.

interns4tomorrow, another kidz2leaders program, connects former campers with companies throughout Atlanta. Many children of prisoners only know a life of government dependence; interns4tomorrow enables graduates of the Leadership Training Academy to gain valuable job skills as interns while they earn money. These students grow up with kidz2leaders, having learned to overcome major adversity and break the cycle of incarceration and government dependence.

kidz2leaders became a Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta client in March of 2009. Of the work that Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has done for this deserving organization, kidz2leaders founder and president Rev. Diane H. Parrish has said, “[w]ithout the generosity of the Pro Bono staff and participating attorneys, these efforts would not be possible. Our non-profit organization is extremely focused on minimizing operational costs and does not have the budget to pay for these legal services … We are most grateful for the advice, guidance, and expertise of the attorneys that have willingly consulted with us.”

The following volunteer attorneys have worked with kidz2leaders to help ensure the organization’s continued success: Michelle O’Leary of Littler Mendelson and Marcia Alembik of Hunton & Williams LLP assisted kidz2leaders in evaluating its risks in the internship program; Brynne Goncher of Morris, Manning, & Martin LLP has provided legal advice regarding HIPAA compliance in connection with its camp applications; Peter Farley of Beaulieu Group, Lou Barbieri of Womble Carlyle, and Lori Shapiro of Graphic Packaging Corporation did a legal assessment during Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s Nonprofit Legal Check-Up. Presently, George Sewell, Shymeka Hunter of Jackson Lewis, and Adam Humphrey of King and Spalding LLP are assisting on various legal matters for the organization.