Firmwide Season of Service
McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP (MLA) is committed to enhancing the quality of life for the people who live in the communities in which we have offices. Through pro bono legal services, community service efforts, and the MLA Foundation, the firm supports both individuals and organizations by means of generous charitable donations and untold hours of volunteer activities.
As attorneys, we recognize that we have a duty to help ensure each person has equal access to the justice system regardless of his or her ability to afford representation. From coast to coast, we give people a chance to improve their lives by rendering free legal services, often in partnership with local service providers such as the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, the Children’s Law Center and the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program.
Individually we serve in leadership positions as board members and committee chairs for organizations that are supporting critical needs on a daily basis. Each MLA office has its own tradition of civic service. In Atlanta, we build houses every year with Habitat for Humanity and in Washington, DC we raise money and run for the American Heart Association’s Lawyers Have Heart 10K. In San Francisco, we touch up the paint on senior community centers and in New York we spread hope to the homeless through coat drives. We assemble care packages for our troops in Los Angeles, we assemble care packages for our troops, food boxes for the hungry in San Diego, and toys for underprivileged children in Denver.
Together with our clients, MLA seeks out and encourages opportunities to give back. We believe this commitment to our neighbors in need helps to enhance the experience of working with and for the firm, and ensures that our communities receive the critical support they need to thrive.
MLA Atlanta hosted an in-office afternoon Season of Service. In the weeks prior to the event, volunteers collected hundreds of new and gently-used books to fill the shelves of the library and classrooms at Cook Elementary School, where many Atlanta personnel volunteer throughout the year as reading tutors. More than 35 people took time during the work day to sort through the books, which will be used by the students in their everyday studies as well as for the school’s Everybody Wins! tutoring program. Volunteers also worked with HandsOn Atlanta to assemble children’s bicycles for the Genesis Shelter to help local area children who are transitioning from homeless shelters to their own homes.
More than 20 employees and family members volunteered at the Starlight Children's Foundation Colorado for the MLA Denver Season of Service project. MLA volunteers assembled 20 wagons, wrapped 50 gifts, labeled 150 fun packs (for which the Denver office had donated the supplies) and packed 350 backpacks for delivery to gravely ill children in the community.
MLA Los Angeles volunteers selected the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (the largest food bank operating in the United States) as its Season of Service project. Like so many organizations, this Food Bank cannot survive without volunteers who aid in providing and sorting the food items that feed thousands of people every day in local shelters, senior centers and day care programs. MLA Los Angeles volunteers also participated in Operation Gratitude, a program that assembles and sends care packages for U.S. troops at sea and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
MLA New York participated in Season of Service by volunteering for the annual New York Cares Coat Drive at Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station, where they helped sort and wrap more than 22,000 coats and clothing items for men, women, children, and infants who are in dire need of such things.
On a Saturday in October 2010, MLA San Diego participated in the Season of Service by volunteering at Feeding America San Diego (FASD), a nonprofit food bank that helps young children, working families, the elderly and the homeless. FASD works with approximately 50 agencies serving 50,000 people in need each week. Volunteers from MLA San Diego packed up 10,500 pounds of cereal and pasta, 400 bags of produce for the Ralphs Mobile Pantry, and prepared 1,300 boxes of cereal for transport.
Volunteers from MLA DC gathered for the second consecutive year at Clagett Farm on a Saturday in November for their Season of Service project. The Clagett Farm is owned and operated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Upper Marlboro, MD. The farm grows fruits and vegetables for its Community Supported Agriculture program, raises grass-fed cattle and maintains a native tree nursery on more than 285 acres. Forty percent of the fruit and vegetables go to the Capital Area Food Bank, an organization that the Washington office has supported for many years. Volunteers herded cows, built a fence, moved hay into a barn for winter feeding of the cows, covered strawberry plants to protect them over the winter months and assisted with restoration tree nursery work. The trees will be planted along the Chesapeake Bay watershed to prevent erosion.
Holiday Spirit of Service
The holiday season provides another opportunity for MLA to continue its tradition of service.
- Each year, the Atlanta Associates Committee sponsors the Cook Elementary Holiday Party, a tradition for which MLA volunteers donate money and buy gifts of clothing, toys and school supplies for the children.
- As a follow-up to Season of Service, the Denver office collects toys for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. The Foundation provides entertainment, education and family activities to children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and life-altering injuries. In 2010, the Denver office also participated in the Denver Santa Claus Shop. The Shop was founded during the Great Depression and has given free toys to more than one million children throughout the years.
- In New York, MLA participates in the New York Cares Winter Wishes for Kids and Families program to help fulfill the wishes of thousands of disadvantaged children, teens and families who reside in shelters and rely on community organizations throughout New York City.
- In 2010, for the 13th consecutive year the Los Angeles office participated in the Christmas Wish drive for children and mothers who reside at the Good Shepherd Women’s Shelter for victims of domestic violence. The shelter’s campus provides apartments that house up to 12 families; a school; common areas to eat, play and socialize; and job training, medical treatment and legal services. The shelter is privately funded but relies on community support to supplement its services.
- San Diego supports the Monarch School, which provides homeless and at-risk children with an accredited education while caring for their basic needs. Office members collect toys, school supplies, gift cards and basic necessities to help make the children’s holiday brighter.
- In 2010, the San Francisco office once again joined the San Francisco Fire Department's Firefighters Toy Drive for disadvantaged children in the Bay Area. The program is the city’s largest and the nation’s oldest program of its kind, helping both individual families in need and serving many community organizations.
- The annual holiday drive in Washington, DC focuses attention on three worthy organizations supported through pro bono hours, the MLA Foundation contribution, and volunteer leadership throughout the year. Donations of new toys and clothing were provided for children and adults served by the Children’s Law Center and Gifts for the Homeless, which supports more than 60 shelters. The firm's contribution to Gifts for the Homeless helped purchase new clothing items and basic necessities. Volunteers also participated in the Capital Area Food Bank's annual holiday food drive.
Hammering Home the Point of Service
Since 2003, MLA has pounded nails in our Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver and Washington, DC communities to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity. Across the firm, dozens of MLA volunteers enjoy the tradition each summer of putting down their pens and picking up a hammer for the cause.
In 2008, MLA commemorated Atlanta Habitat’s 25th anniversary by sponsoring and helping build its 1,000th Habitat home. More than 40 MLA attorneys, staff, and guests volunteered on the third day of the eight-day historic build. Following the completion of that project, a special reception featuring former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalyn Carter was held to commemorate the occasion.
In 2010, Atlanta partnered with clients TriMont Real Estate Advisors and Wells Fargo for a seven-day build, and Washington, DC took part in Buildable Hours, a project with that partners law firms with local Habitat for Humanity organizations.
San Francisco - Friendly Competition for A Good Cause
In 2010, MLA San Francisco participated for the eighth straight year in The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Food from the Bar community service campaign to support the San Francisco Food Bank. The campaign puts local law firms in competition with each other each spring to see who can collect the most food, money and hours “billed” by volunteers.
MLA San Francisco raised $6,355, donated 41 pounds of non-perishable food items and volunteered for 42 shifts at the food bank, earning them the coveted “Gold Partner” status for the second consecutive year and ensuring that the Food Bank has the critical resources to provide more than 18,000 additional meals this year.
Key to the firm’s ultimate success was an intra-office rivalry staged within the campaign’s competition. MLA associate volunteers grouped other MLA volunteers into six teams to compete for the most money raised, food donated and volunteer hours “billed.”
The Food from the Bar campaign is the most successful fundraiser for the Food Bank, which provides 29 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy protein, nutritious dairy products and other groceries to San Franciscans in need. Thanks to the generosity of the San Francisco legal community, the Food Bank will be able to provide an additional 1.3 million meals this year.
Community Service Involvement
"HandsOn Network thrives with partners such as McKenna Long & Aldridge who have a passion and commitment to their local communities. For the last several years, we have supported MLA offices around the country in their fall season of service projects, helping them engage their employees in meaningful volunteer work to improve their communities. It’s been a fantastic partnership. We applaud MLA's commitment to service."
"Ninety percent of homeless adults need a new coat each winter because they have no place to keep one over the summer months, and thousands of New Yorkers are forced to choose between buying a coat or putting food on the table. I'm grateful to our team members who came downtown on a freezing December night to volunteer in a dusty warehouse to help those less fortunate."
MLA New York
“We truly enjoy our new partnership with Clagett Farm, which is an extension of our long-term commitment to Capital Area Food Bank and to providing food to the hungry in the Washington Area. By working with these two organizations, we have the opportunity to put our volunteer efforts into the entire process of feeding the hungry — from nurturing the gardens that produce fresh vegetables to sorting and packaging food that goes to front-line agencies feeding those in need.”
“Community service is one of my passions, and I volunteered to help lead so that I could share this passion with my colleagues. It was so inspiring to see our Atlanta office come together to support these great programs. It really showed that our professionals and staff are dedicated to helping those less fortunate in our community, a quality that makes MLA such a wonderful firm."
Business Development Manager
“When we have the opportunity to give back as colleagues, we not only contribute to those in need but we also strengthen our working relationships. From the Food Bank to Operation Gratitude where we send care packages to troops to Habitat for Humanity, we look forward to each of the diverse service projects each year as an opportunity to grow together as we meet the needs of others.”
Regional Office Administrator
"We are especially proud of the San Francisco office's efforts this year because of the current economic climate. The teams really went all out when it came to having in-office fundraisers like breakfasts, raffles, lunches, and auctions, resulting in another great year with Food From The Bar."
MLA San Francisco