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Giving back this holiday season

Some highlights of the spirit of generosity in the legal profession.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

With the Farewell Issue distribution this last summer, CBA Law Matters published its final paper publication, making room for a more agile magazine form and connection with our audience on a digital platform. We are motivated to maintain the best of our “beloved” magazine by renewing and refreshing and adding new material, all at a time when connection, even from afar, is more relevant than ever.  While our introspective assessment is ongoing, we collaborate on a national platform, expanding our readership and presenting an Alberta perspective.

As this work continues and we bring the year to a close, we reflect on what we have experienced and learned.  While there may be uncertainty around us and about what lies ahead, we identified an interest in highlighting examples of the human spirit’s generosity.  No matter the challenges we face, human decency, kindness and generosity prevail.  Thus, as we kick off  the Winter holidays, we celebrate the human desire to help one another.

From December 7-11 James H. Brown and Associates partnered with 91.7 KiSS FM to highlight various smaller local charities. Through the partnership they highlighted five charities on air and help them reach a broader audience. Additionally, they were able to surprise each charity with a $10,000 donation.

This holiday season, Blakes Calgary felt privileged to contribute to a number of charitable causes, including the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association to “adopt” two families and make sure their holiday wish lists were fulfilled. In addition, Blakes Calgary made donations to the United Way, the Calgary Food Bank, the Calgary Drop-In Centre, the Canadian Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities Alberta, Seniors Secret Service, the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, and the ALPL Pet Book Bank.

In the spirit of the season, Lawson Lundell LLP made donations this year to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, the Calgary Food Bank, the Child Advocacy Centre of Kelowna, and the Yellowknife YWCA.

Every December, the Sign of Hope Campaign seeks donations to fund its many social service programs and residences available to vulnerable persons regardless of their faith, or no faith, and cultural background. Ground-breaking homes like Kairos House for those living with HIV/AIDS, and Safe House for street kids, were started with Sign of Hope dollars because no government funding was then available. A core group of lawyers from private law firms and government legal departments responds heartily each year. They have formed a legal sector with a core group of four and a team of about 80 liaisons in various firms and offices. This year’s theme is HOME; particularly relevant because COVID-19 has added pressure to the homeless and to those suffering domestic violence – the aptly named “shadow pandemic.” Last year they raised about $130,000, and this year will be even better!

In lieu of firm gifts, Reynolds, Mirth, Richard and Farmer LLP of Edmonton made donations to food banks (and related agencies) that will create thousands of meals for those in need. They designed the initiative so that every community in which their clients live and do business receives funds.

In addition to donating to the United Way for the holidays, Borden Ladner Gervais  LLP also participated in the Adopt-a-Family Fundraiser raising funds for an Alberta family in need. The group surpassed their initial fundraising goal, raising $2000 to support a local family of 8, which is sure to make their holiday much brighter this year. Late this fall, BLG also launched the YYC BLG Reads virtual program to maintain their connection to the community and continue to support education and literacy for Calgary’s young children. The BLG Calgary volunteers read to students from Penbrooke Meadows Elementary School, and have enjoyed making connections with the students, even on a virtual platform.

Inspired by the way communities have banded together in 2020, McLennan Ross LLP is spreading the holiday spirit this year by making donations to local food banks and community support organizations in the cities where they operate. Calgary Food Bank, Edmonton's Food Bank, YWCA NWT in Yellowknife, and the Canadian Mental Health Association have all received donations from the firm. They have also extended their support to Adopt-a-Family, Santa’s Anonymous, Terra Centre, Toy Mountain, and the Calgary Emergency Women’s Shelter in place of our annual Children’s Holiday Party.

Lonny Balbi, QC of Balbi & Company in Calgary, normally organizes volunteer lawyers to serve dinner for a number of evenings at the Mustard Seed between December and February. Due to the pandemic, he is collecting donations for the Mustard Seed, to continue the tradition in a new way.

Field Law LLP continued their holiday tradition of giving with a donation to the Kinette Club of Edmonton for the December to Remember Project, as well as a Christmas Craft Fair in which members of the firm donated their homemade crafts to be raffled off with all proceeds given to the Edmonton Food Bank.

We hope the sharing of charitable work and generosity of so many will brighten your day and that the new year will bring you good health, peace and happiness. From our desk to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each of you.