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 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.”

Posted on February 13, 2011

When we asked Rick McMurtry, Assistant General Counsel, and Betsy Holland, Director of Corporate Responsibility & Civic Affairs, both of Turner Broadcasting System, whether Turner might be willing to make a promotional video for Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, we had in mind a guy with a video camera asking a few clients some questions. We certainly did not envision a crew of 14, a cast of 7, 11 interviews, two days of filming, four days of editing, catered meals and a partridge in a pear tree. It did seem like the 12 days of Christmas for us as the Turner crew worked feverishly to finish the video before their self-imposed December 31 deadline.

Where we thought Turner would just donate the time of a couple of employees, they had a significant budget of real dollars to pay for a production that was on par with anything they would do for a paying client. Special thanks go to Rick, Betsy, Bob Callner, Carol Dorsey and Rene Vance from Turner for all of their assistance and to interviewees Elizabeth Finn Johnson, Happy Perkins, Jim Johnson, Darcy White, Nancy Kumar, Charles Sperling, BryAnn Chen, Genene Stewart and Andy Schneggenburger.

The result is incredible, so click here to see our volunteer attorney video and click here to view client testimonials!

Posted on February 13, 2011

Over 100 attorneys gathered at AGL Resources on January 25, 2011 to celebrate another successful year for Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. For the sixth year in a row, PBP-Atl held an appreciation reception for its donors and volunteers and also presented special recognition awards.

PBP-Atl’s Board Chair, Frank Landgraff of GE Energy, started off the evening by thanking PBP-Atl donors, including the following donors who gave $25,000 or more in 2010: The Coca-Cola Company, GE Energy, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, SunTrust Foundation, Sutherland and UPS Foundation. Executive Director Rachel Epps Spears then presented a new volunteer recruitment video produced and donated by Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Ms. Spears thanked all of PBP-Atl’s volunteers who contributed free legal services valued at over $2.4 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:

  • The Home Depot, Corporation of the Year
  • Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton, Law Firm of the Year
  • Volunteers of the Year:
    Elizabeth Finn Johnson of The Coca-Cola Company
    Jared Brandman of The Coca-Cola Company
    Jim Coil of Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton
    Dan Rollman of DLA Piper

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta also gave special appreciation awards to Turner Broadcasting System for the donation of the new videos and to United Parcel Service for its $50,000 grant to PBP-Atl through the UPS Foundation, which is the largest single donation that PBP-Atl has ever received.

“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 June 20, 2010

Testimony from Andy Schneggenburger

The Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood-based Developers (AHAND) has been very fortunate to have maintained a strong working relationship with the Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. AHAND is a dues-paying membership association of non-profit community development corporations and affordable housing developers working to revitalize Atlanta and metro area neighborhoods.

AHAND’s program areas include education and advocacy on policy issues impacting our members and their work, and capacity-building to continuously help our members do what they do better. Both of these program areas benefit significantly from the Pro Bono Partnership’s services, particularly the workshop series of our capacity-building program. While the menu of outstanding workshops already provided by the Pro Bono Partnership for non-profit organizations already benefits AHAND and our member organizations, AHAND has also worked with Rachel and her staff to implement a series of workshops over the last few years targeted specifically for our member organizations and issues directly related to community development. These quarterly seminars have always been of the highest quality, and we look forward to continuing this service to our members.

The Pro Bono Partnership has also been an invaluable legal resource for AHAND directly. Recent assistance has included the drafting of a fiscal sponsorship agreement, and other guidance relating to AHAND organizational management. Having access to the knowledge and expertise that the Pro Bono Partnership provides either directly or indirectly is truly irreplaceable.

While the content quality of these services has always been top-notch, the responsiveness, accessibility and professional attention to detail of Pro Bono Partnership staff has likewise been of the highest quality. The Pro Bono Partnership is a resource for the non-profit community in Atlanta that has been a joy and a relief to work with. The importance and value of the services it provides cannot be overstated. AHAND would like to sincerely thank all those who make the Pro Bono Partnership possible.

Andy Schneggenburger
Executive Director
Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood-based Developers

Testimony from Rick D. McMurtry

I am so proud of my involvement with Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. I first heard about PBP-Atl in 2006, and since then I’ve had the chance to work with many different non-profit and charitable organizations, which has not only fulfilled my interest in helping others but also given me a chance to expand my work beyond the normal routine and exposure to new professional experiences. Prior to working with PBP-Atl, my philanthropic efforts were pretty much limited to writing checks and non-legal volunteer efforts. PBP-Atl’s focus on in-house attorneys and providing us with resources to take on pro bono projects, such as breaking matters up into discrete projects or pairing in-house attorneys with law firms, allowed me to resume working on pro bono matters.

My first client with PBP-Atl was the Enchanted Closet, a non-profit organization that helps to outfit high school girls from low-income families with clothing for special events and professional experiences, such as prom dresses or business suits. As great a cause as this is, I honestly picked the project because it sounded like a good test case for dipping my toes back into the pro bono world, i.e., one that would not take too much of my time. Not only did I find that the project did not take too much time, but I was so gratified by the experience and the appreciation of my client that I decided to take on more projects. After that first project years ago, I’ve volunteered to work with organizations that benefit the blind, senior citizens, abused and neglected children, refugees, environmental housing, and other good and worthy causes that I’m so honored to have had a small hand in helping out.

Many of my colleagues at Turner Broadcasting System now also volunteer with PBP-Atl. In fact, Turner was honored as PBP-Atl’s Corporation of the Year in 2006 thanks to the many volunteers from Turner, including both attorneys and other legal professionals. All of our volunteers have benefited from exposure to new practices areas and additional responsibility that they may not otherwise receive. One example included the opportunity for two of my paralegals and a legal assistant to help me prepare and deliver a presentation to small and minority-owned businesses through Goodwill Industries. That opportunity not only helped all of us hone our public speaking skills, but also gave my colleagues a chance to show off their knowledge and dig a little deeper into issues that they don’t deal with every day. I am thankful to PBP-Atl for its part in helping to revitalize the pro bono spirit in me and many of my colleagues at Turner.

Rick D. McMurtry
Assistant General Counsel
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Testimony from Marvin Bryant

The Atlanta Micro Fund ( is a nonprofit organization that provides small business micro loans and business management coaching to low and moderate income entrepreneurs throughout metropolitan Atlanta. The AMF is a U.S. Small Business Administration micro loan intermediary and certified community development financial institution (CDFI).

The relationship between Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta and the AMF began during November 2005 when the AMF sought assistance with separating from its parent organization. Over the past four years, Pro Bono Atlanta has assisted the AMF with finding legal counsel to: 1.) review its loan documentation to insure that those documents do not violate any state or federal laws; 2.) develop a privacy policy for its website; and 3.) develop volunteer and client agreements.

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta is extremely valuable to nonprofits that do not possess the resources to hire quality legal counsel. Having this agency supporting us allows me to rest a little more peacefully at night.

Marvin Bryant
Executive Director
Atlanta Micro Fund

Posted on July 1, 2009

What do President Barack Obama, Paula Deen, Ernest Borgnine, and Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts have in common? All have participated in fulfilling the dream of an elderly person through Second Wind Dreams. In the past twelve years, Second Wind Dreams has built an award-winning program which trains eldercare communities nationwide on how to raise the resources to make residents’ dreams come true.

Paula Deen fulfills the dream request
of 88 year old Eveline Kelly

The idea for Second Wind Dreams grew out the work of geriatric specialist P.K. Beville, M.S. who co-authored Second Wind, a novel about people living in a nursing home. PK found “that after a dream had been fulfilled, the effects linger, giving all involved a Second Wind.” Second Wind Dreams’ programs enhance the quality of life for those living in eldercare communities by decreasing resident depression, increasing staff morale, providing life-changing volunteer opportunities, and creating a positive environment for all of those involved in the dream fulfillment process. The program has received attention from the national media including Southern Living, The Associated Press, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CBS Evening News, People Magazine, CNN, The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Assisted Living Today, NBC’s Three Wishes with Amy Grant, and the Hallmark Channel.

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has matched the Second Wind Dreams with several volunteer attorneys to strengthen the legal health of the organization. Currently, Rupert Barkoff of Kilpatrick Stockton is drafting a franchise agreement as the organization seeks to formalize its relationship with its chapters. Faith Knight of McKesson has worked with Second Wind Dreams on HIPAA-related issues and drafted a media waiver. Evan Pontz of Troutman Sanders LLP volunteered his services on several employment-related issues, and attorneys from Turner Broadcasting System, Gardner Groff, and Kilpatrick Stockton have assisted with a variety of intellectual property issues.

Second Wind Dreams is founded on the principle that people are never too old to dream or to have their dreams come true. The greatest percentage of dreams are “just for fun” such as going to The Price Is Right, riding a camel, or cruising around town in a red convertible. Second Wind Dreams also fulfills many other types of dreams of low income seniors such as reuniting them with loved ones, taking one to swim with dolphins, or helping them to relive past experiences. Most dreams are funded for less than $100, and some as are simple as taking a resident to see his garden one last time or providing a resident with art supplies.