As a family sits gathered around the Thanksgiving table, a beautifully cooked turkey at the center, they give thanks for many things in their life, including the Lerner & Rowe Gives Back nonprofit organization that provided the meal.
Lerner & Rowe Gives Back was originally founded by Kevin Rowe after watching the movie “Pay it Forward.” When Rowe partnered with Glen Lerner, they incorporated the nonprofit organization into all the Lerner & Rowe Injury Attorneys offices, providing support to the local communities they serve.
“Giving back keeps us humble. Our focus is to be able to give back to the community, especially in the areas that a lot of our clients come from. We’re grateful to have our clients and we want to give back to them,” said Arianna Baiz, Outreach Director at Lerner & Rowe. “No help is too small. It all goes a long way and people really appreciate it. It says a lot about the character of your employees and your business as a whole.”
In Northwest Indiana, Lerner & Rowe Gives Back helps by hosting several events each year: The Back to School Backpack Giveaway, Turkey Giveaway, and Holiday Giveaway. Each event offers unique opportunities for the Lerner & Rowe team to be out in the community.
The Back to School Backpack Giveaway ensures that students from families in need receive the necessary supplies to set the student up for success in the new school year. The Lerner & Rowe Gives Back team donates more than 1,000 backpacks full of supplies while hosting a block party full of fun for the kids.
“We do this to ease the burden of buying the school supplies for families. We want to help take that weight off of their shoulders,” Baiz said.
For the Holiday Giveaway, Lerner & Rowe Gives Back makes the holidays a little brighter for many children. By partnering with a local police department and school in one particular case, the team was able to provide each student in the school with two presents from Santa.
“A lot of those students wouldn’t have gotten presents because their families couldn’t afford it. We wanted to bring that holiday cheer to them and not have them go without,” Baiz said.
The Turkey Giveaway allows Lerner & Rowe Gives Back to partner with the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and pass out thousands of turkeys, as well as a few side dishes, to those in need.
“We really believe that everybody should have a great holiday meal with their families,” Baiz said. “We want them to have that traditional time of gathering around the table and sharing a meal. Nobody should have to go without that because they don’t have the means to purchase those items.”
In addition to these three major events, Lerner & Rowe Gives Back encourages their staff to participate in a volunteer project each month. Whether it’s making birthday cards for United Way to give to students at Campagna Academy, or putting together care packages for Phil’s Friends for people going through cancer treatments, the staff at Lerner & Rowe enjoys spending their time doing for others.
“A lot of our staff have said that these experiences are really eye-opening and they’ve been able to learn about different organizations in their community and how they can help them,” Baiz said. “They have a blast every time we do a volunteer project and it’s a great experience overall. They really enjoy it and want to see more.”
From August to December of 2019 alone, the staff at Lerner & Rowe volunteered 255 hours to various local organizations. Part of the reason Lerner & Rowe has such great success with their staff volunteering time is the emphasis on making it personal. Each month they bring an organization into the office for a lunch-and-learn so staff members can see the needs themselves. They also ask for staff input as much as they can.
“We make a point to sit down with every one of our staff members to find where their interest lies in helping to serve the community and what they would like to see from the outreach program,” Baiz said.
No matter the project, Lerner & Rowe Gives Back is leading the charge and setting an example to others on the importance of caring for their own communities.
“Giving back is a quality of business that stretches far beyond the norm,” Baiz said. “We want to inspire other individuals and companies to adopt programs like this. It goes a long way in teaching our community and staff members that we’re more than just a business, we care about our staff and our community. If everybody adopted a similar program I think they’d be surprised by how far that takes them.”
For the Englewood community, Lerner & Rowe Gives Back provided a safe place for kids to come and enjoy spring break. One local policewoman shared her story and why their help meant so much to the community here: https://nwi.life/video/sabrinas-story-at-lerner-rowe-2020/.
Looking forward, Lerner & Rowe Gives Back is looking to connect with even more local organizations.
“We want to build more connections in the community with local partners and organizations. We want to get out there and let them know that we’re here and enhance our presence in the community,” Baiz said. “We want them to know that we are a resource. If they ever have any needs or something they’d like to accomplish but don’t have the funds, we want them to reach out to us and know that we’re here for them and want to support them. If we can make that happen for them, we’d love to.”
They are also planning to host a 3 on 3 basketball tournament this summer. The profits from the tournament will go to the Gives Back nonprofit organization so that Lerner & Rowe can continue hosting their larger events like the Backpack and Turkey Giveaways. It’s shaping up to be a fun time for the entire firm’s family.
“Local businesses or community members can organize a 3 on 3 basketball team and come out and play against one another. There will be food trucks, bouncy houses and other fun for the kids, vendor tables, and a grand prize,” Baiz said.
For more information on Lerner & Rowe Gives Back, visit their website. https://lernerandrowegivesback.com/.