Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP Helping in Haiti

Law firm matches employee donations up to $75,000

UPDATE: Orrick employees have successfully met the $75,000 matching gift challenge supporting Action Against Hunger's relief efforts in Haiti.

As the recent earthquake in Haiti has shown, the worst tragedies can bring out the best in human nature. When we see suffering, we want to help. For employees of the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, the desire to help will be boosted by a laudable program that doubles the impact of their donations.

Under Orrick’s challenge match program, employees who donate to Action Against Hunger’s relief efforts in Haiti will see their donations matched 100% by the law firm. We spoke with Lisa Handley, Orrick’s Community Responsibility Manager, to find out more.

Could you briefly explain how this fundraiser works?

We invite our people to make personal contributions to Action Against Hunger and we provide a firm matching contribution, dollar for dollar, up to $75,000, to encourage donations.

How is Orrick promoting this within the company?

We are promoting it via firm-wide emails from our Community Responsibility Program, as well as through encouragement from office leaders at the local office level throughout our 22 offices.

What are the origins of the idea?

Orrick's Community Responsibility Program typically focuses on pro bono legal service work, charitable contributions, community involvement and volunteerism in our designated impact areas -- legal service, education and arts organizations. However, we also have responded to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Sichuan Earthquake and now, the Haitian Earthquake. When horrific things of this magnitude occur people want to help, so we try to point people in the right direction and use our resources to aid relief efforts in a constructive way. We aren't a health organization, so can't send doctors and nurses, and we're not in transport or consumer products, so can't send or provide goods; our expertise is in the legal profession. Right now our best response to this disaster is to provide money. Creating a match is a real incentive to encourage personal donations from our lawyers and staff. And importantly, we can do it quickly.

What has been the reaction of Orrick employees to the idea?

Like everyone else in the world, we want to help the people affected in Haiti. Our lawyers and staff have repeatedly told me that they feel proud to work for a firm that is responding. And because we are doing something collectively, that's a nice added benefit, too.

Any tips or cautions for companies planning something similar?

Do your homework on organizations with deeply-rooted development experience in the affected region, like Action Against Hunger. Join with organizations with which you have existing relationships--for us, our partner, Burton Haimes, based out of our New York office, provided a critical link. Burt is founder and past president of Action Against Hunger | ACF-USA, and currently serves as chairman emeritus. At the time of the crisis, Burt could speak to Action Against Hunger's work in Haiti and when time is of the essence, you don't want to have to begin vetting organizations for experience and efficiency.

Start a challenge match for Haiti relief at your company! Contact Jake Dahlman at (212) 967-7800 ext. 117 for more information.

About Alex Ruthrauff

Alex is Action Against Hunger’s Donor Engagement Officer. He helps our supporters stay informed and active in the fight against hunger.