News & Announcements

Weil Challenges Harris County Business Community to “Pay It Forward” to Local Charities in 2012

The Houston office of international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP announced today that it is embarking on an ambitious philanthropic program inspired by the 2000 book, “Pay it Forward,” written by Catherine Ryan Hyde. The program is the expansion of an initiative that was launched by the firm’s New York office in 2011, which succeeded in raising more than $175,000 for New York City-area charities. Weil offices in Boston, Dallas, London and Washington, DC are also participating in the “Pay it Forward” program.

Weil’s “Pay it Forward” program is meant to tap into the creative, entrepreneurial talents of the firm’s employees, with the goal of extending the reach of the firm’s overall philanthropic endeavors. Each project begins with $1,000 in seed money donated from the firm and allocated to internal teams that submitted proposals to support a local charity. Unlike many corporate philanthropic efforts that focus on nationally known charities, Weil’s program seeks to support organizations that are typically underfunded and primarily serve the local community. The $1,000 seed money is then leveraged through a “pay it forward” action plan developed by each team, with a goal of multiplying the seed money exponentially or providing a gift of lasting value.

Weil Houston’s “Pay it Forward” program consists of five separate project teams, supporting five separate charities, and the effort will run in two phases through Fall 2012. Each team will create a “video diary” of its activities, and will host various events throughout the Greater Houston area.

The teams and their charities are listed below:

Boys and Girls Harbor is a home and school for abused, neglected and abandoned children in Houston. This project aims to provide resident children with educational benefits, role models and inspiration. The Weil project team recently hosted a “Day in Downtown” event that featured professionals from a range of careers (including Weil employees, a renowned chef, elected officials, and more).

Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC) assists victims of domestic and sexual violence. The project aims to support the center’s summer enrichment program for HAWC children, which is not part of the organization’s regular fundraising efforts. The team plans to hold a silent auction in the tunnel area of the Bank of America Center, including framed artwork provided by the center’s children, in order to leverage the $1,000 seed money.

Little Feet Foundation distributes soccer balls and develops sustainable soccer programs to children in low-income communities. The project aims to provide soccer balls to The Boys and Girls Club of Houston, with the potential to build a lasting soccer stadium for wildfire survivors in Bastrop, Texas. The team plans to hold a raffle of high-value items through an in-office garage sale.

Project Joy and Hope provides support to Houston families with children who have life-limiting conditions. With $1,000, this organization can pay monthly bills for a family of six, provide scholarships to students, and/or pay light bills for seven families. The team plans to host a family-friendly public fundraising event to which area businesses and individuals can donate, in order to leverage the $1,000 seed money into a larger amount.

YES Prep Public Schools serves 3,500 low-income students at 10 schools in Houston. The project aims to increase the proportion of students who begin their education at YES and ultimately graduate with acceptance to a four-year college or university. The team plans to hold a food cart scavenger hunt with additional corporate and firm sponsor involvement.