The Arkansas Community Foundation honored Wright Lindsey Jennings (WLJ) with a 2019 Smart Corporate Giving Award, an award that celebrates WLJ’s commitment to good citizenship and worthy philanthropic endeavors. The firm was one of three businesses to receive this award at the 31st Annual Business of the Year Awards in March, hosted by Arkansas Business, along with Kinco Constructors and United Bank of Springdale.
The award and event highlighted many of the firm’s philanthropic efforts, including the more than 3,000 hours per year in service that WLJ’s 120 staff members and attorneys routinely donate to various nonprofit boards, pro bono legal work and volunteer professional activities. Likewise, the firm’s dedication to its longstanding Stewardship Committee was noted. The Committee works tirelessly reviewing and responding to requests for donations from community organizations and from among those championed by firm employees. Annually, the firm contributes to more than 100 worthy organizations statewide, and has maintained this spirit of giving throughout its 119-year history.
“We are thrilled and humbled to receive recognition for our community support and involvement,” said Managing Partner Steve Lancaster. “Investment in our local communities has been an honored tradition and core value at our firm since its founding. Through our culture of service, we aim to impact significant philanthropic missions that enhance the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.”
As part of the award, WLJ received a $1,000 grant from the Arkansas Community Foundation to gift to its organizations of choice. WLJ selected the Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation as its grant recipient and also matched the $1000 grant with firm funds.
“Civil legal aid is often overlooked in philanthropy because its impact on families and communities isn’t always obvious,” said Amy Johnson, Executive Director of the Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation. “Legal aid gets at the root causes of some of society’s most pressing problems—housing instability, poor health outcomes and poverty—by correcting bad policy. We are grateful that Wright Lindsey Jennings recognizes the value of this work and is willing to invest in the future of justice in Arkansas.”
The Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation is the state’s lead funder of civil legal aid. Since its creation in 1985, the Foundation has made more than $13 million in grants to support the work of Arkansas’ two legal aid organizations: The Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas. Together, their lawyers help thousands of struggling Arkansans to understand and enforce their rights, and serve as their voice in court.
“Our firm has historically demonstrated a commitment to civil liberties and working to decrease the disconnect between the legal industry and our communities,” Lancaster said. “We are proud to support the Arkansas Access to Justice and the important work that they do to maintain and enhance the ethical and professional practice of law, while ultimately supporting those who may lack access to legal services.”
More information about Wright Lindsey Jennings’ history of community involvement can be found here.