WASHINGTON, D.C.– Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) is honored to present Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company [NYSE: LMT], in partnership with Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) and Teamsters Local 1150, the 2019 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award – Small Law. The award recognizes the partnership and Sikorsky’s longstanding service in support of the critical legal needs of veterans. CPBO is a project of Pro Bono Institute (PBI). The award will be presented at PBI’s 2019 Annual Dinner on October 10 at Gotham Hall in New York.
Addressing the needs of veterans facing homelessness and mental health issues, Sikorsky’s Legal Department and Teamsters Local 1150 have developed a sustained and unique partnership with Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) to support CVLC’s pro bono legal work and advocate for the increased recognition of veterans’ unmet legal and social service needs in Connecticut.
“We are proud of the work our team has accomplished and the consistent commitment to public service. We’ve made strides to show our support of veterans locally and nationally. Through the annual Homerun for Heroes event and pro bono services, we are honored to help those in our communities who would be forced to go without high-quality legal services,” said Sandra Fenske, general counsel and Sikorsky Legal vice president. “This kind of dedication is an important part of Lockheed Martin’s mission to support our military and veterans and we are thankful to bring our community together through these efforts.”
In 2009, Sikorsky was among the first pro bono partners to support CVLC’s groundbreaking medical-legal partnership to integrate legal services on-site at Veterans Administration (VA) mental health facilities. Recognizing the importance of this holistic model in helping veterans stabilize their lives, Sikorsky attorneys took extra measures to provide pro bono legal assistance in the early days of the program, often traveling a long distance to meet with veterans who were receiving medical care at the VA. To date, dozens of Sikorsky volunteers have addressed a variety of veterans’ needs, including eviction defense and securing pardons to overcome barriers to affordable housing and employment.
CVLC developed a pro bono Service Pledge Program to further engage Sikorsky’s legal department in helping veterans access their VA benefits. The Program educates and trains attorneys about VA benefit laws and encourages deeper engagement with clients. The Program’s success at Sikorsky led CVLC to replicate it in other legal departments and law firms to expand its pro bono efforts.
“The innovative partnership between Sikorsky, CVLC, and Teamsters Local 1150 is the kind of agile collaboration that can serve as a model for others moving forward,” said Eve Runyon, PBI President and CEO. “We applaud both the sustainable partnership and their creative response to the evolving needs of those who have sacrificed so much for all of us.”
Sikorsky’s enthusiasm and level of commitment to veterans has been critical in allowing CVLC to grow their services and leverage pro bono and volunteer partnerships. To increase awareness and volunteer engagement, Sikorsky’s Legal Department collaborated with Teamsters Local 1150 to institute the annual “Homerun for Heroes” program, which honors and recognizes military veterans at a minor league baseball game. The event shines a statewide spotlight on veterans’ legal issues and raises funds to support veteran-related programs throughout Connecticut, including CVLC’s legal services and pro bono program. Together, they have donated more than 200 hours of their time to organize and plan the annual event. Additionally, employees volunteer their time to fundraise on behalf of Connecticut nonprofits providing vital social services to veterans facing homelessness, including, Columbus House-Harkness House, Connecticut Fallen Heroes, Homes for the Brave– Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes, and CVLC.
“So many of our own members are veterans that it seems natural to reach out and help the men and women who have served. We’re so proud of the many ways that Local 1150 helps veterans and their families, especially through Homerun for Heroes because of the remarkable impact that it makes for so many,” said Rocco Calo, Principal Officer, Teamsters Local 1150.
Sikorsky’s partnership with CVLC and Teamsters Local 1150 exemplifies the unique and innovative ways in which a legal department with its partners have reimagined their pro bono program in responding to the emerging needs and challenges of supporting a vulnerable population.
About the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award
Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), a project of Pro Bono Institute, created the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award to recognize innovative pro bono collaborations of in-house legal departments with law firms and public interest organizations. Pro bono partnerships that include at least one in-house legal department with one or more law firms and/or public interest organizations are eligible. The Corporate Pro Bono Advisory Board selects the award recipients.
The award honors legal departments and the organizations with which they partner in the provision of legal services to those in need. The award recipients are departments, law firms, and public interest organizations that have demonstrated an impact on their community through their partnership project, shown substantial involvement in the project by in-house lawyers, made tangible steps toward sustaining the relationship among the partners, developed innovative substantive or structural approaches in support of the partnership’s effort, and addressed a critical legal need or assisted a particularly vulnerable community or target population.
Over the years, the impact and innovation of the projects supported by the award recipients have been tremendously important both in the projects’ ability to address the legal needs of the communities being served and in the role the partnerships have played in supporting and furthering pro bono work, especially within the in-house community. Through these partnerships, legal departments, law firms, and public interest organizations have devised programs that contribute to the legal profession’s efforts to close the justice gap and that create strong legacies of effective pro bono service.
About Corporate Pro Bono
Founded in 2000, Corporate Pro Bono is a global project of Pro Bono Institute (PBI). CPBO’s mission is to explore and identify new approaches to and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. CPBO does so by supporting, enhancing, and transforming the pro bono efforts of in-house legal departments in the U.S. and around the world.
About Pro Bono Institute
Founded in 1996, Pro Bono Institute (PBI) is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. With an unparalleled depth of knowledge, resources and expertise, PBI is the respected resource for all things pro bono. Through our work with law firms, in-house corporate legal departments, and public interest organizations, PBI is the global thought leader in exploring, identifying, evaluating, catalyzing, and taking to scale new approaches to and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems.
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
About Connecticut Veterans Legal Center
Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) is the first legal aid program in the United States to integrate legal services on-site at Veteran Administration (VA) mental health facilities in a medical-legal partnership (MLP). Celebrating its 10th anniversary, CVLC provides free legal services to veterans recovering from homelessness and mental health issues to help them overcome legal barriers to housing, healthcare and income. Together with CVLC staff attorneys, hundreds of volunteer attorneys help our veterans resolve legal issues that destabilize their housing, employment, disability income, and access to necessary healthcare. To join our dynamic volunteer network or to learn more about our program, visit Connecticut Veterans Legal Center at https://ctveteranslegal.org.
About International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1150
Teamsters Local 1150 is the bargaining representative for the workers at Sikorsky in Connecticut, Florida and Alabama who build the world’s best rotary-winged aircraft. With a membership approaching four-thousand, many of whom are veterans, Local 1150 has a rich history of helping veterans through a variety of programs and fund-raising efforts, including the Homerun for Heroes program. As defense workers, they serve our active-duty military on the job every day and are proud to continue supporting veterans who have served our nation with dignity and valor.