Reaching and Connecting with Our Community

R&C Continues its “Casual for a Cause”

As reported earlier below, Rutherford & Christie continues its commitment to the community through its “Casual for a Cause” program.  Firm attorneys and staff can choose to wear jeans on Fridays if they contribute $5.00 each time to a charitable cause.  Each quarter, the firm votes on which charity to support.

Most recently, the firm selected the Special Olympics.  Thanks to the firm’s donations, two athletes from Georgia were able to attend and participate in the games.  The firm was delighted to receive this (click here) letter and certificate of thanks.

Other contributions over the last three years have included the following:  the Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta (click here) and the Alzheimer’s Foundation (click here).

R&C Serves as 2011 City of Refuge Gala Patron – Funds Scholarship for Culinary Arts Student

Rutherford & Christie was honored to serve as a Patron for the third annual 2011 City of Refuge Gala, a fundraising event held on November 3, 2011, at the City of Refuge facility in Atlanta.

City of Refuge is an in-town humanitarian organization that helps families escape poverty in the heart of Atlanta’s most challenging neighborhood. They provide housing, meals, medical services and referrals to people in need. The facility houses more than 200 women and children, and on any given day, hundreds of individuals receive hot meals, GED and SAT prep, drug and alcohol rehabilitation referrals and after-school tutoring. Proceeds from the City of Refuge Gala make these programs possible.The sumptuous Gala dinner was catered by 180 Degree Kitchen, a hospitality operation at City of Refuge that offers meal preparation and service more than 19,000 people per month. The related culinary arts school is a job training program for 60 City of Refuge students each year, and includes a revenue-generating catering business.

In addition to supporting the Gala as a Patron, Rutherford & Christie was pleased to fund a scholarship for one student to complete the 12-week culinary arts training program at 180 Degree Kitchen.

Executive Director Bruce Deel explains City of Refuge’s mission as being “committed to long-range, intentional, well-directed programs that will have both an immediate and permanent positive impact on the surrounding community.”

It’s a Wrap: R&C Adopts Familes and Donates Wrapped Christmas Gifts

Each year, the Atlanta office of Rutherford &   Christie has adopted projects to bless others in   the community who are in need.  In December   2011, the firm adopted three families through a local church to help give them a Christmas to remember.

Firm attorneys and staff divided up the family members – five adults and 12 children – to shop for Christmas gifts, whether toys, clothes, tech gadgets, or other fun surprises.  While the firm pledged a $100 shopping allowance for each family member, many of the firm’s shoppers donated beyond that amount.

On December 20, 2011, the attorneys and staff gathered at The Lawyers Club of Atlanta with all their shopping finds.  The firm provided boxes, tape, wrapping paper, gift tags, ribbons and bows; then Santa’s “elves” went to work, wrapping all the presents in an assembly line that surely rivaled the North Pole workshop.  The firm catered a delicious breakfast, which included much needed coffee to fuel the “elves” wrapping skills.

Volunteers from the group then loaded all the wrapped gifts into cars and delivered them to the church.  With just five days to go before Christmas, everyone was overjoyed to know their efforts would bring smiles to some deserving faces on December, 25th.

Other community service projects have included “Casual For a Cause Jean Fridays” so employees can contribute $5 in exchange for wearing jeans to work, then that money is donated quarterly to a charitable organization; sponsoring an associate in his quest to raise money for Team in Training/Leukemia research; providing scholarships to Kids’ Chance students, whose parents were catastrophically or fatally injured on-the-job; supporting Angel Tree at Christmas; and donating time and money to Habitat for Humity’s Buidable hours program.

R&C Helps Build Habitat House

On July 17, 2009, Rutherford & Christie attorneys and staff took part in Habitat for Humanity’s Buildable Hours program, which launched in 2002 to provide Atlanta law and professional services firms a fun and rewarding group volunteer project.

Rutherford & Christie not only donated sweat equity, but also contributed $2,500 as a sponsor. The sponsorship fee was used to support construction of a single-family home, helping cover costs such as site development, building permits and materials, and necessary licensed subcontract labor (HVAC, electrical, plumbing).

Atlanta Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to partner with working families, sponsors and communities to build affordable, green, quality homes and to provide support services that promote successful home purchase and ownership. Since 1983, the organization has worked in partnership with foundations, faith-based and civic organizations, the corporate community and individuals from all walks of life, to build more than 1,000 homes in the City of Atlanta. These homes currently house more than 3,500 children, parents, grandchildren and grandparents.

R&C’s attorneys and staff worked alongside the homebuyer, Barbara Dixon, a customer service representative for the Georgia Department of Revenue. Barbara has one daughter who is a rising high school senior and math whiz, and another who will begin high school in the fall and enjoys reading and dancing.  Following the build, Barbara said, “We so appreciate all the volunteers who showed up to help us.”

R&C Partner Carrie L. Christie said, “It’s wonderful to know our hands-on work and financial support will provide Barbara and her family the stability of having place to call home.  She, like so many other Habitat homebuyers, certainly deserves it.”  The Habitat for Humanity Web site echoes that sentiment: “Volunteers hammer, saw, caulk, paint and landscape together on a new home, providing the foundation (literally!) for a lifetime of hope and financial security.”

The Buildable Hours program has been incredibly successful and is now established in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, as well as Atlanta.  This year, 55 homes were built in Atlanta.

R&C Participates in Red Cross Blood Drive

As part of its ongoing commitment to charitable causes, on July 15, 2009, Rutherford & Christie attorneys and staff took part in the American Red Cross Blood Drive, sponsored by Peachtree Center, where the firm has its Atlanta offices. The brave donors received a Hard Rock Café VIP card and the chance to win a $1,000 gas gift card … and, of course, the usual Nutter Butter snack cookie and juice.  Pictured after making their donation are (l-r) Carrie Christie and Brooke Bowen.  For more information on how you or your company can donate blood, visit www.givelife.org or call 1-800-GIVELIFE. 

R&C Goes Casual for a Cause

As part of its commitment to reaching the community, Rutherford & Christie attorneys and staff have established every Friday as “Casual for a Cause” in an effort to raise money for local charities.

While the firm, like many others, has observed business casual as a daily dress code – unless one has court or client meetings – partner Carrie L. Christie explains, “We decided to let everyone be really casual on Fridays and sport their favorite pair of jeans to raise money for worthy causes.”  Each person is invited to make a minimum donation of $5.00 for the opportunity to don denim at the end of every week.

The firm votes quarterly for which charity it would like to support. In spring 2009, proceeds went to the Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta (click here).   Funds raised in summer 2009 went to the Alzheimer’s Foundation (click here) in honor of an R&C legal assistant’s mother’s brave struggle against the debilitating disease.  In the fall/winter 2009, Christmas gifts and clothing were purchased with the funds raised and given to children participating in The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program.

R&C Associate Joins Team in Training, Raised Money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

In keeping with Rutherford & Christie’s commitment to reaching the community, associate Parker Green ran his second marathon to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) through the group’s Team in Training program in Seattle on June 27, 2009. Last year, Green ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego, California for the same event. Green raised money and ran in honor of his University of Alabama classmate, Ray Johnston, who was recently diagnosed with cancer for the fourth time.

Johnston’s inspirational story was featured in USA Today two years ago. According to the article, Johnston went “from being a 25-year-old loan officer with [Dallas Mavericks] season tickets to having Steve Nash’s locker, a No. 2 jersey and being teammates with Josh Howard and Devin Harris on the Mavericks’ summer league team.” This after Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sent scouts to a 2004 Hoop-it-Up tournament to find 20 players to compete for a place on the NBA team’s summer league squad. Unfortunately, Johnston’s NBA dreams were deferred in September 2004 when he was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, which the American Cancer Society says accounts for about three percent of leukemia cases. Thus began his now four-time battle with the aggressive disease. He remains positive though, thanks to his Christian faith and the support of family and friends.

Inspired by his college friend and others struggling with the disease, Green surpassed his personal goal to raise $4,300. Rutherford & Christie donated to LLS in support of Green’s efforts.

R&C Sponsors 17th Annual Kids’ Chance Golf Classic, Raises Over 65K

On June 8, 2009, 108 golfers and over 20 volunteers participated in the 17th Annual Charity Golf Classic benefiting Kids’ Chance of Georgia, sponsored by Rutherford & Christie.  The tournament, which raised over $65,000, took place on the hallowed greens of East Lake Golf Course, where legendary golfer Bobby Jones once played. 

Kids’ Chance provides educational scholarships to the children of Georgia workers, who have been seriously, catastrophically or fatally injured in work-related accidents.

As Kids’ Chance Executive Director Forrest Hale noted, “Even in this tough economy, we met our target, which was above the tournament average.”  He added, “This is a testament to Rutherford & Christie’s leadership, and the tremendous efforts of Tournament Chair Lori Ellwood and her planning committee.”

“Our firm is proud to support this worthy charity that has restored the dreams of so many aspiring students and their families,” explained Carrie L. Christie.  She added, “It has been our privilege to serve as presenting tournament sponsor for the past seven years.”

In addition to Rutherford & Christie’s commitment, Chick-fil-A has participated as the tournament’s food sponsor for several years through the generous coordination of local franchisee Bob Fowle.  The Kids’ Chance mission matches Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy’s belief that leadership is vital to the success of this country, and developing future leaders among youth has been one of his chief priorities.

Kevin Bullard, U.S. Long Drive Champion, and former Atlanta Braves pitcher Pete Smith, also donated their time as active tournament participants.  The enthusiastic group of golfers hailed from all walks of life, including doctors, lawyers and business executives from companies like Hooters, Resurgens Orthopaedics, Georgia Power and the Arthur Blank Foundation.

Since 2008, the golf tournament has raised over $460,000 in net donations, representing funding for 153 full scholarships.  Two scholarship recipients (pictured above) were at the awards ceremony to share their stories.  Collin Burchins (right), a Dean’s List sophomore at Gardner Webb University in North Carolina, said, “After my dad was injured and unable to work again, college would not have been possible without the funding from Kids’ Chance.”  Georgia Southern junior Joe Wayne Ledford (left), whose father was similarly injured, echoed that he would not be in college either had it not been for the scholarship, saying, “Kids’ Chance has changed my life.”

Ms. Ellwood, who serves as Resurgens Spine Center Manager when not volunteering, reports the planning committee is already working on the 2010 tournament.

Silverman Addresses Lower Hudson Association of Pupil Personnel Administrators

On February 6, 2009, Rutherford & Christie partner Lewis Silverman was a member of a panel discussion for the Lower Hudson Association of Pupil Personnel Administrators (LHAPPA). The subject was parents’ perspectives on educating children with autism spectrum disorder. The meeting was attended by special education administrators from approximately 20 school districts in Westchester and Putnam Counties, New York.

R&C Sponsors 2007 Kids’ Chance Golf Tournament Gives Students Hope Through Scholarships

Pictured at the 2008 event are (l-r): Pete Smith, former Atlanta Braves Pitcher; David S. Rutherford, Rutherford & Christie, Tournament Sponsor; Polly F. Hale, Builders Insurance Group, President of Kids’ Chance; Lori Ellwood, Resurgens Spine Center Manager, Tournament Chair; Kevin Bullard, former US Long Drive Champion; and Carrie L. Christie, Rutherford & Christie, Tournament Sponsor.

For the seventh consecutive year, Rutherford & Christie is proud to be one of the largest sources of scholarship funds for Kids’ Chance of Georgia, Inc. as part of the firm’s sponsorship of the annual 2007 golf tournament fundraising event.

Kids’ Chance of Georgia is a nonprofit corporation established by the Workers’ Compensation Section of the State Bar of Georgia in 1988. Through the cooperation of insurers, employers, attorneys, labor, medical and rehabilitation groups, Kids’ Chance provides financial scholarships for children (ages 16-25) of permanently or catastrophically injured or deceased workers to complete their education. More than $3 million has been raised in donations and 614 scholarships have been awarded over the last two decades. Scholarships vary for technical school and college depending on the needs and educational expenses of the student. To learn about some of the lives touched by the saving grace of Kids’ Chance, click here

Rutherford & Christie not only financially supports this worthy cause as the official Kids’ Chance Golf Classic sponsor, but also donates volunteer hours by helping recruit other financial sponsors and donations from participants and local merchants.

The 2008 event, held in June at Georgia National Golf Club, raised more than $29,000 that will fund 10 of the current 71 scholarship recipients. Below are photos from the successful event.

“My firm is truly humbled to support Kids’ Chance,” remarked Rutherford & Christie partner David Rutherford. “It is rewarding to know a deserving student will once again have the chance to pursue a dream that had otherwise been shattered by a family tragedy.”

The next Kids’ Chance Golf Classic (& Silent Auction) is slated for June 29, 2009 at the East Lake Golf Club. For more information about sponsorships or player registration, contact kidschancegolf@gmail.com.

R&C Prepares Dinner for Homeless Families

Attorneys in the Atlanta office of Rutherford & Christie recently donned cooking aprons to prepare dinner for residents at one of Nicholas House Inc.’s transitional housing shelters.

For more than 26 years, Nicholas House has helped 1,500 homeless families make the transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency in a structured home-like environment. “So many of us take for granted having a roof over our heads and a hot meal every night,” noted Rutherford & Christie partner Carrie Christie. “Our firm was thrilled to be able to put dinner on the table for the deserving families at Nicholas House.”

Family homelessness is a rapidly growing issue in metro-Atlanta. According to one survey, each night more than 1,200 family members, including 800 children are homeless. Up to 12 families, 45 children and parents, stay at the Nicholas House facility where they are provided housing, meals, case management, after-school programs, adult training sessions and more in an accountability-based program to help the family be able to maintain their own housing and income long-term. It also is one of the only locations where families can remain in tact while homeless rather than separating genders, causing couples and siblings to go to different shelters.

In 2008, Nicholas House provided 14,555 meals to homeless families and their children, with the majority of meals being prepared by volunteers like Rutherford & Christie. If you would like to organize a group to either prepare a hearty, home-cooked meal or deliver and serve prepared food for shelter families – or to learn about other volunteer opportunities – click here.