Christopher G. Keim embraces the value charitable work creates at Frantz Ward LLP.
Each Saturday morning for the last 15 years, a group of people representing the firm journeys to the West Side Catholic Center in Cleveland to serve breakfast to the homeless. For the mix of partners, staff members and family, it’s become a tradition of giving back that warms the hearts of everyone connected with the law firm, says Keim, the firm’s managing partner.
“Some of these kids have been doing it for so long, they are coming back from college and insisting that they go that weekend with their families to serve breakfast,” Keim says. “We place a high importance on giving back. But we’re also fortunate that it comes naturally for a lot of our employees.”
A foundation of giving
When Frantz Ward was formed in 2000, the founding partners were committed to making philanthropy a core part of the firm’s culture, including people at all levels of the organization in the effort.
“It’s very important to lead from the top,” Keim says. “When you see people at the top doing it, you see it’s not just lip service. It really means a lot to them and the firm.”
Combined, Frantz Ward attorneys serve and volunteer with more than 140 organizations. These acts of community service make a big difference in the community, but they also pay dividends when the team gets back to work.
“They are out there in the community with people who even though they see each other in the hallway, they aren’t friends,” Keim says. “Now they get more of a kinship with those folks. When you’re involved in other organizations and you’re surrounding yourself with people who might not be among your daily contacts, it gives you a different perspective on life and you come back with other ideas and different ways of looking at things. They bring those experiences back into the organization, and it just gives them a good framework and helps develop future leaders as well.”
Spread the word
Communication is another important component to building an organization that embraces helping those in need. Frantz Ward has a weekly bulletin that provides an update on the latest charitable acts of people from the firm.
“It allows us to promote those nonprofit organizations amongst our employees and it also becomes a little contagious,” Keim says. “People see that they get recognition if they are out there sponsoring something, serving on a board or helping a nonprofit.”
Attorneys and employees at Frantz Ward are given opportunities to take part in community service activities on company time, says Keim.
“Last summer, we went to Edgewater Park and picked up garbage on company time,” Keim says. “It gave employees an opportunity to give back and still get home at a regular time to be with their families.”