Fredrikson & Byron has a long history of encouraging community participation by all of its employees, and many of our employees, both lawyers and staff, share a commitment to provide voluntary services to their communities. These services, although too numerous to list, include everything from tutoring students in math, reading, and composition, serving on local community boards, fundraising for charitable events, and raising awareness of the arts, to visiting seniors in nursing homes or bringing food and companionship to homebound senior citizens.
Additionally, Fredrikson gives each employee paid time off to volunteer for firm-sponsored community service programs such as rehabilitating or building homes through Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, serving meals at Sharing & Caring Hands, reading to students at Whittier International School, or purchasing and delivering school supplies and gifts to homeless or orphaned youth and holiday gifts to families in need through our Friends of Fredrikson program.
We all live in a better world due to the effort, commitment, and time given by volunteers. We at Fredrikson & Byron are proud of the volunteer spirit of all of our employees. The following section outlines some of the firm-sponsored programs that our lawyers and staff participate in.
Legal Clinic for Riot-Damaged Businesses
In May 2020, numerous businesses were damaged or destroyed during the civil unrest in Minneapolis that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody. Through pro bono services and a series of free legal clinics at Midtown Global Market, Fredrikson & Byron is advising impacted businesses on their path to reopening.
Read more in the Star Tribune article, “New legal clinic aims to offer free help to Lake Street businesses hurt by riots.”
Rehabilitating Low-Income Housing
Each year, Fredrikson & Byron employees volunteer to build or rehabilitate a house for a low-income family. Projects are coordinated through organizations such as Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together Twin Cities. Our volunteers enjoy working side-by-side with the homeowner whether to help them bring their homes up to code, make it handicap accessible, or simply add some much-needed landscaping to stop water from flowing into basements.
Sharing & Caring Hands
Four times per year, a group of eight to ten firm members travels to Sharing & Caring Hands, a shelter located on the outskirts of downtown. Run by Mary Jo Copeland, Sharing & Caring Hands offers meals and amenities to disadvantaged people in the area. Volunteers arrive by 9:00 a.m. to prepare and serve breakfast to approximately 300 people.
Volunteer Reading Program
Fredrikson & Byron is committed to giving time to our most vulnerable – the children of our community. Volunteers travel to Whittier International School, located in South Minneapolis, to spend 30 minutes reading one-on-one with children to strengthen their reading and comprehension skills. For most of the children, English is a second language, and they need the extra assistance. Volunteers and students quickly bond – with many of the volunteers receiving hugs of gratitude from the students. During the holidays and before school adjourns for the summer, each child is presented with a gift of two books specially selected for their reading level and abilities. These books are donated through our Friends of Fredrikson nonprofit.
Friends of Fredrikson Program
In 1994, a few employees got together and “adopted” one family through Hennepin County’s Social Services Adopt-A-Family program. The next year, the program was expanded to collect food for a local food shelf, and adopt two families. The program is called “Friends of Fredrikson.” In 1997, the Friends of Fredrikson was officially incorporated into a stand-alone nonprofit run entirely by employees of Fredrikson & Byron.
Friends of Fredrikson is an employee-run nonprofit whose mission is:
- To ease the economic burden of disadvantaged families and their children;
- To foster and promote the education of disadvantaged children in public schools;
- To provide food and clothing to, and encourage the wellness of, disadvantaged families and their children; and
- To do any and all other acts and things and to exercise any and all other rights and powers which may be necessary, advisable, desirable, or expedient in the accomplishment of any of the foregoing purposes.
Friends of Fredrikson collects and distributes gifts during the year, including:
- Holiday wish lists – adopts up to 7 families/40 people through Jewish Family & Children’s Services, Catholic Charities Sponsor-A-Family Program and Project for Pride In Living;
- Gift Certificates to Rainbow and/or Cub Foods – donates up to 50-$10 gift certificates to all sponsored families;
- School Supplies – collects, purchases, and distributes school supplies to St. Joseph’s Home for Children and Project for Pride In Living for their school programs.