Volunteerism, community spirit honored

At its 12th annual event Thursday, Dec. 2, Community Legal Resources presented seven awards for remarkable pro bono legal representation and outstanding community achievement.

Over 200 guests attended the event at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Among the guests were city officials, nonprofit and law firm executives, attorneys and community activists.

Titled "Telling Our Story," this year's event focused on the importance of storytelling in creating a shared history and sense of community. Videos of the honorees were shared that clearly demonstrated the positive impact their work has made in empowering communities. Guests were also invited to record their own stories of community engagement in a storytelling booth at the event.

Awards were given for the outstanding volunteer attorney, law firm, partner, and community action of the year. This year's honorees were:

Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP was awarded Law Firm of the Year for its tradition of outstanding pro bono participation. In 2010, the firm accepted more referrals than ever before, helped with various legal issues, and even prevented nonprofits from closing their doors.

New Detroit, Inc. and Detroit LISC were both awarded Partner of the Year. New Detroit, Inc. helped build the capacity of hundreds of community organizations and Detroit LISC was an early supporter and lead funder of CLR's Detroit Vacant Property Campaign.

Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation and Southwest Detroit Business Association were both awarded the Outstanding Community Action Award. GRDC has increased volunteer involvement and improved its community's vacancy rate through a community plan designed with CLR. SDBA used mini-grant funding from CLR to remove graffiti, clean up lots, and beautify and secure businesses and homes in its community.

Barry Malone of Adkison Need & Allen and Chris Quinn of Law Offices of Quinn & Associates were both awarded Volunteer of the Year. Each attorney exemplified pro bono commitment by providing hundreds of hours of free legal assistance to a single client. Plus, both clients were able to turn the attorneys' assistance into opportunities to strengthen their community.

The 12th annual event was sponsored by Michigan State Housing Development Authority and Detroit LISC.

The mission of Community Legal Resources is to support and empower nonprofit community organizations in Michigan that serve low-income individuals and communities, with an emphasis on community economic development, by providing pro bono legal services and technical assistance. Founded in 1998, CLR has provided over $9 million in free legal assistance to over 900 nonprofits in Michigan and vacant property related assistance to over 200 community organizations in Detroit. Find CLR at www.clronline.org and www.detroitvacantproperty .org and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Peoplemovers.

Published: Mon, Dec 13, 2010