ATLANTA – The newly launched Barnes & Thornburg Racial and Social Justice Foundation has made a $50,000 donation to Atlanta nonprofit Project Pinnacle, which provides nonviolent offenders under the age of 25 with life skills training, legal rights and responsibilities education, and career development opportunities. The 10-year-old organization is dedicated to restoring young people to respectful positions in the community.
The firm’s lawyers and staff funded the foundation launch; the foundation was established in 2020 with $75,000 in personal donations from firm leadership and total donations collected this year equaled just over $200,000.
“We are thrilled to provide this donation to an organization that’s creating such positive change in our community,” said John T.L. Koenig, Barnes & Thornburg’s Atlanta Office Managing Partner. “There are so many challenges in the way for nonviolent offenders who want to better their lives and their communities. Project Pinnacle provides invaluable resources to those individuals and truly changes their lives.”
Project Pinnacle was founded as a pretrial diversion program by the Hon. Asha Jackson, Chief Superior Court Judge in DeKalb County, Georgia, who was a Barnes & Thornburg partner before taking the bench. “As a judge, I see a number of first-time, nonviolent defendants and they often lack the requisite tools to be successful outside of the criminal justice system. We’re talking about basic skills like education, emotional intelligence and economic stability, the lack of which inevitably leads to a prolonged relationship with the justice system. This is not good for those defendants and their families or the community long term,” said Judge Jackson. “We’re so grateful for this gift – it will go a long way in providing resources to individuals in our community who are looking for a second chance.”
Barnes & Thornburg’s Racial and Social Justice Foundation
The Barnes & Thornburg Racial and Social Justice Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2020 and funded entirely with personal donations from attorneys and staff of the firm. The foundation’s mission is to promote, advocate, and effect racial and social justice in our local communities and nationally.
The foundation made initial donations of $50,000 each to four organizations in four of Barnes & Thornburg’s markets – Atlanta, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. As the foundation continues to grow in 2021, additional nonprofits and markets will be added to the mix.
“It’s time to not just speak out against racial and social injustices, but to translate those words into meaningful and tangible actions and commitments,” said Connie Lahn, the Racial and Social Justice Foundation president and managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg’s Minneapolis office. “As we reach the end of this challenging year, we’re proud to have put a stake in the ground, and we look forward to working with the amazing nonprofits we’ve selected. Their work inspires us to be better, and we hope with our support they can have an even greater impact in our communities.”
To choose grantees, the foundation employed a rigorous scoring system to vet charitable organizations against specific criteria that align with its mission and goals.
The foundation will work hand in hand with Barnes & Thornburg’s Racial Justice Committee, which is tasked with continually looking at how the firm works to address racial justice, both externally and internally. Learn more about the foundation’s work across the country.
With more than 700 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the largest law firms in the country. The firm serves clients worldwide from offices in Atlanta, California, Chicago, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minneapolis, New York, Ohio, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, Texas and Washington, D.C.