The Foley & Lardner law firm recently partnered with Milwaukee Public Schools by “adopting” the Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning. Managing partner Linda Benfield says more Milwaukee businesses need to get involved in the community.
“Small and large companies face a limitless number of options for supporting causes that impact their organization, customers and clients. Beyond traditional monetary contributions, it’s important for business leaders to consider an approach that can involve the entire organization in building meaningful community partnerships.
“Community challenges, such as Milwaukee’s efforts to achieve quality public education, affect us all, not just the students and their families. It will take action by the community as a whole to solve these challenges.
“The business community can play a significant role in overcoming these challenges – beyond only money. Expertise, opportunities and resources that a company can provide may be far more effective. Now more than ever, business leaders are beginning to see that other support, such as donated time or advice, can have a bigger impact.
“Foley recognizes that education is one of the most critical needs in our community. To maximize the impact our resources can have on this need, we decided to focus on one school that educates children from kindergarten through high school. Through our partnership with the Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning, we are donating time, energy and financial resources to focus on the success of these children.
“Foley recently provided school supplies in a ‘store’ where the children in kindergarten through grade five selected all the items on their school supply list. Helping bright, eager young students count out two blue, one green and one purple folder, or 12 pencils and six pens, and place them all in a new backpack was a fun and tremendously rewarding experience for volunteers, students and parents.
“As we develop our relationship with the staff and families at WCLL, we believe that the things we can bring to the students – mentoring, coaching, cultural and educational opportunities, and caring for each of their individual successes – can enrich their educational experience and connect them in a meaningful way to their greater community. As a business, the reciprocal impact as our own employees connect with the people in our community is extraordinary.”