ROYAL OAK, Mich., June 11, 2009 – As companies both large and small move to cut costs and maximize profits in response to the effects of the economy, corporate giving programs often have been put on the back burner. Corporate budgets that amounted to more than $15 billion given to worthy causes in 2007 have been dramatically slashed, leaving many not-for-profits and foundations desperate to make up for the lost revenue in a climate where demand for services is at an all-time high. But Royal Oak, Mich.-based Howard & Howard is still managing to make a difference to a wide variety of charitable organizations – to the tune of $2.8 million.
The Howard & Howard Community Reinvestment Fund (H2CRF), established in 1986, is proving to be recession-proof due to its unique structure, which doesn’t draw funds from a corporate budget but rather appeals to employees to support it with contributions from their salaries. Nearly all of the firm’s employees participate in the program, donating a percentage of their annual pay to the fund’s many causes.
“The success of the Howard & Howard Community Reinvestment Fund lies in our employee commitment to serving the community in any way possible,” said Mark A. Davis, President and CEO. “As the funds are distributed to causes that our employees are involved in or committed to, this structure creates a sense of pride in the program and boosts morale within the firm.”
Through recommendations from the firm’s employee base, the H2CRF makes distributions twice a year to a variety of charitable 501(c)(3) authorized agencies. The fund is donor-advised and administered by a community foundation to ensure the donations fit Howard & Howard’s vision for the H2CRF – to give back to the organizations that have enriched the lives of not only the firm’s attorneys and staff but also so many residents local to the firm’s offices.
Since its inception, the fund has gained momentum and donated more than $2.8 million to charitable causes that support organizations many of the firm’s employees and clients are actively involved with, focusing primarily on those that benefit children, education and the arts.
Recipient organizations work with Howard & Howard to establish grants, funded by the H2CRF. Among these are the Howard & Howard 21st Century Leaders Grant, which supports the development of leadership skills among middle school students; the Howard & Howard Healing Hearts Grant, which provides assistance to families of children with cancer; the H2Blue Grant, which provides motivational speakers to teach grade school children the history of Blues music; and the Howard & Howard Future Laureates Arts Scholarship, which provides the opportunity for disadvantaged or underserved students to attend art classes.
The H2CRF’s targeted approach ensures that when employees agree to donate a portion of their salaries, they will be supportive of where it’s going.
“It’s important to us and to our advisory committee to consider all suggestions and recommendations from the firm’s attorneys and staff regarding worthwhile causes,” said Leonard W. Sachs, Chairman of the H2CRF Allocation Committee. “We don’t want to just donate money to ‘popular’ causes; we want these dollars to mean something more to us.”
In addition, the H2CRF has proven a valuable asset to the firm itself, aiding in the recruitment and retention of employees and enhancing job satisfaction. The fund also pays homage to the firm’s beginnings, which hinged upon generosity and giving.
“William G. Howard was able to obtain his law degree only because the community banded together and pooled their money to support him,” said Davis. “When he founded the firm in 1869, he built it with a culture of giving, which has since evolved and become engrained in our day to day operation.”
Howard & Howard considers proposals from participating employees when allocating funds through the H2CRF, which outline opportunities to support 501(c)(3) authorized agencies. For more information, please visit the firm’s Web site at www.howardandhoward.com.
Founded in 1869, Howard & Howard is a full-service law firm with a national and international practice that provides specialized legal services to businesses and business owners. The firm has offices in Michigan (Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo and Royal Oak), Peoria, Illinois, Las Vegas, Nevada and Toronto, Ontario. Howard & Howard’s practice expertise include: business & corporate, commercial litigation, construction, creditors’ rights, employee benefits, environmental, estate planning, intellectual property, international, labor, employment and immigration, real estate, securities, and tax. Our focused expertise allows us to master the industries we serve including automotive, energy and utilities, financial services and gaming. For more information, please visit the firm’s website at www.howardandhoward.com.