Franczek Radelet emphasizes the importance of contributing its financial resources and the time, energy and talent of individuals within the firm to our local and legal communities.
Partner Staci Ketay Rotman acts as the firm's Community Investment Officer to coordinate the philanthropic, charitable service, and pro bono activities of the firm. By “giving back” to our community, we have grown as professionals and, more importantly, we have grown as individuals through the fulfillment that can only come through helping others.
For more information regarding the firm's community investment initiatives, please contact Firm Community Investment Officer Staci Ketay Rotman via e-mail or call 312.786.6568.
Teacher Appreciation Breakfast
On the morning of November 22, Franczek Radelet sponsored and hosted a Teacher Appreciation breakfast for the Harvard School of Excellence led by Staci Ketay Rotman. The Firm also donated an Amazon.com gift card which was raffled off to one of the teachers that attended the breakfast.The small donation of breakfast and our time was very well received, and we are looking forward to our partnership with Harvard in 2014.
Holiday Food Drive
During the month of November, Franczek Radelet partnered with the Jewish United Fund (JUF)/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. JUF funds a vital network of agencies that act upon core Jewish values, such as caring for people in need here in the United States, in Israel and around the world, as well as nurturing and sustaining the Jewish community today and for future generations. The firm donated food and hygiene items to the JUF Uptown Cafe, Chicago’s first kosher anti-hunger program for the needy. In addition to providing hot meals in a restaurant-style setting, the JUF Uptown Cafe program brings dignity and hope to people in need. The JUF Uptown Cafe feeds Jews and non-Jews alike and is open three days a week for dinner and on Sundays for brunch.
The Great Chicago Fire Hydrants
As part of the citywide public art installation featuring oversized replicas of Chicago's iconic standard ﬁre hydrants, Franczek Radelet sponsored a hydrant for The Great Chicago Fire Hydrants. These art sculptures are placed throughout the City in tribute to the work and heroism of our beloved Chicago Fireﬁghters. Our sponsored hydrant will be on display at the Merchandise Mart near the Orleans entrance until December 1. At the conclusion of the exhibition, the hydrants will be gathered for a ﬁnal exhibit before being auctioned, with net proceeds beneﬁting charities that support the families of ﬁre victims and other ﬁre safety programs.
In September 2013, a Franczek Radelet team of attorneys and staff braved the rain and participated in the annual Race Judicata. Race Judicata is annual 5K Run/Walk, benefiting Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation (CVLS) and its mission to ensure that the law works for everyone. CVLS is an organization of nearly 3,000 volunteer attorneys who donate free legal services to thousands of low-income Chicagoans annually. This year marked the 20th year for the Race and Franczek Radelet was happy to continue its participation in this annual event.
Franczek Radelet also won the Race Judicata 2013 T-Shirt Contest for its design and slogan "We SUIT UP to defend justice....and 5Ks" slogan. The designers of the t-shirt were Roseann Seablom, Veronica Montes and Cesar Bolanos. [Left to right: Cesar Bolanos, Roseann Seablom, Staci Ketay Rotman, Veronica Montes]
School Supplies Drive
Before the new school year, Franczek Radelet conducted its annual school supplies drive. We were pleased to provide Harvard School of Excellence with eight boxes of school supplies and school uniforms.
Harvard School of Excellence Service Project
On July 12, 2012, Franczek Radelet attorneys Shelli Anderson, Ellen Babbitt, Brian Crowley, Ron Hein, Staci Ketay Rotman, Mark Wilkinson, Chief Financial Officer Shannon DeRubertis, and the Firm’s 2013 LEADS Fellows, Erin Fowler and Kent Sparks, partnered with Chicago Cares to complete a meaningful community service project at Harvard School of Excellence. The Firm recently partnered with Harvard for the upcoming school year.
The volunteers constructed a planter bench and planted flowers for the outdoor playground space to add more comfortable seating for students and teachers. They also painted a "Get Healthy, Get Active" mural on the lunchroom wall to brighten the room and encourage students to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Franczek Radelet is proud to support the educational efforts of the Chicago Public Schools.
2013 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
On Mothers’ Day 2013, Team Franczek Radelet, participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in downtown Chicago. The Chicagoland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® was established in 1997 and held its first Susan G. Komen Chicago Race for the Cure that year. The Daley family served as Honorary Chairs of the race this year, celebrating the life of Chicago’s former First Lady Maggie C. Daley, and the passion and energy she displayed as a Mom and breast cancer fighter. With the support of this signature fundraiser, the Komen Chicago Race for the Cure®, the Komen Chicagoland Affiliate has awarded more than $12 million towards the fight against breast cancer.
Lawyers in the Classroom
Franczek Radelet attorneys participated in the Lawyers in the Classroom program during the 2012-2013 school year, at Brentano Math & Science Academy, a local CPS school. Lawyers in the Classroom is a student program provided by Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC) which places attorney volunteers in second- through eighth-grade classrooms to help students to better understand the U.S. Constitution, our legal system, and law-related careers. Four teams of attorneys are currently involved in the program and recently provided interactive lessons to four classes of sixth and seventh grade students. The attorneys participating include Kendra Berner, Brian Crowley, Scott Cruz (pictured, on the right), Ares Dalianis, Amy Dickerson, Michael Hernandez, Julie Heuberger Yura, Neil Goldsmith, David Johnson, Staci Ketay Rotman, Scott Metcalf (pictured, on the left), Michael Richardson, Scott Warner, Jackie Wernz and Abizer Zanzi.
Holiday Gift Drive
In 2013, Franczek Radelet provided holiday donations to Dvorak Technology Academy students through My Joyful Heart Foundation. The firm sponsored 24 Dvorak students by providing clothes, blankets, toiletries, books and toys based on each child’s wish list. Members of the firm, collectively and individually, sponsored an additional eight students for the entire year so that their school supply, clothing and toiletry needs were met, as well as provided gifts for their birthdays and holidays year-round. We are pleased to play a small part in improving the lives of these children. (Photo: Dave Radelet with holiday donations.)
Polish American Association – Clothing Drive
In November 2012, Franczek Radelet held a clothing drive to benefit the Polish American Association (PAA). Founded in 1922 as a not-for-profit organization, the PAA is the nation's only human services organization providing a comprehensive range of bilingual and bicultural services to the Polish community, as well as others in need. This year, the Firm partnered with the PAA and collected 350 items of clothing, 25 stuffed animals, numerous baskets and recycled holiday cards, all filling nine over-sized boxes.
Halloween Candy Drive
In October 2012, Franczek Radelet participated in a Halloween Candy Drive for the Off the Street Club, the city’s oldest Boys and Girls Club serving more than 3,000 children in the Garfield Park neighborhood in Chicago’s West Side. The candy donations collected by Franczek Radelet attorneys and staff were distributed to the children who attended the Off the Street Club’s annual Halloween party, a safe alternative to trick-or-treating.
In June 2012, 20 Franczek Radelet attorneys, staff and friends of the Firm volunteered in the Annual Serv-A-Thon hosted by Chicago Cares. The Franczek Radelet team painted and provided landscaping at Banneker Elementary School in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. The Annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon is the City’s largest day of community service. Thousands of volunteers come together to support Chicago Public School students through hands-on facilities improvements and interactive projects. The work completed in a single day impacts more than 18,000 local students.
In May 2012, Team Franczek Radelet, including 40 Franczek Radelet employees, family members and friends of the Firm, participated in the Y-Me Race. In 1991, Margaret Harte, a two-time breast cancer survivor, launched the Y-ME Race in Chicago to serve as a symbol of hope, inspiration and support, and to provide an opportunity for individuals to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. From 1991 to 2012, the Y-ME Race was a Mother’s Day tradition. Eighty percent of each dollar raised benefited programs and services offered free of charge to those seeking information and support when facing breast cancer.
Chicago Bar Foundation – Investing in Justice Campaign
Franczek Radelet was pleased to once again participate in the Chicago Bar Foundation’s Annual Investing in Justice Campaign. One hundred percent of the proceeds from this annual month-long campaign go to the Chicago Bar Foundation, which in turn, provides funding for various legal aid organizations throughout the Chicago area.
In April 2012, Franczek Radelet sponsored the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School’s Girl Power Luncheon. Each year, Young Women’s Leadership Charter School (YWLCS), the only all-girls public school in Chicago, enrolls nearly 350 urban girls grade 7-12 and prepares them with the tools to graduate high school, continue through post-secondary education, and go on to lead fulfilling and productive lives. Any young woman residing in Chicago and of the right age is eligible to attend YWLCS, and admission is based on lottery.
PILI Annual Luncheon
Franczek Radelet is a regular sponsor of the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Annual Awards Luncheon. Each year, PILI’s Annual Awards Luncheon gathers more than 450 members of the legal community to celebrate the best aspects of the profession. It is a forum to recognize those performing remarkable public interest and pro bono work. At the luncheon, several awards are presented to acknowledge those whose work epitomizes the ideal of access to justice for all, including a Distinguished Service Award, a Pro Bono Initiative Award, and two PILI Alumni Awards.
Attorney Profile: Darcy Kriha
Franczek Radelet partner Darcy Kriha is committed to community involvement. She incorporates important aspects legal practice and her life at home into her community service. Darcy is a mother of four who loves to garden. Darcy, her husband, and her children all volunteer at the Lyons Township Transition House, a program for students with special needs that teaches independent life skills such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, gardening, etc. The program includes about 45 students from the ages of 18 to 22.
As a certified master gardener through the University of Illinois Extension Office, Darcy teaches the students gardening lessons such as composting, water conservation and seed starting. With Darcy’s help, the students constructed a 4-tier seed starting/growing station. The students grew more than 400 tomato, pepper, dill and milkweed seedlings which they sold at the La Grange Farmer’s Market and planted in their existing vegetable beds. The School District’s Board of Education, also a client of the firm, recently approved turning one quarter acre of district property into an organic vegetable/fruit garden which will include eight raised vegetable beds, a wheelchair accessible raised planting area, sensory garden, bird/butterfly garden and a green/rainwater feature. Darcy helped design the area with the input of students and staff members. During the growing season, Darcy and her family spend approximately 25 hours a month volunteering at the Transition House.
Darcy’s community service also goes beyond the Transition House. Since June 2010, Darcy has volunteered for the Lawyers’ Assistance Program, a not-for-profit organization that helps Illinois lawyers, judges, law students, and their families with alcohol abuse, drug dependency, or mental health problems. As a volunteer, she has mentored two lawyers. She also has volunteered at the Center of Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) for 20 years. The CDEL provides legal services to low-income residents of Cook County, Illinois who are either elderly or who have permanent disabilities. Darcy has conducted in-service trainings for volunteer lawyers who want to practice special education law.