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On the Town: Campaign for Justice collects phone-a-thon pledges

Eileen Buholtz, Connors & Corcoran, said this is her 29th year participating in the civil legal services fundraiser.

Eileen Buholtz, Connors & Corcoran, said this is her 29th year participating in the civil legal services fundraiser.

On Tuesday, nearly 30 attorneys came together at the offices of Ward Greenberg Heller & Reidy to spend a couple hours calling friends and colleagues about pledging to this year’s Campaign for Justice, the fundraiser that supports three legal service agencies: Volunteer Legal Services Project; Monroe County Legal Assistance Center, a division of LawNY; and the Legal Aid Society of Rochester.

The 29th year of this campaign effort brought many new volunteer callers to the phones, with a loyal group of seasoned attorneys joining them to make approximately 780 calls. Many of the calls went to answering machines, but the actual live connections brought in $25,200 towards the $275,000 campaign goal.

Including firm pledges received in advance of the phone-a-thon, this year’s campaign total stood at $78,193 as of Wednesday. Phone calls will be made during the day Dec. 4 at the offices of WXXI.

“I want to thank the many [volunteers] who came out on a cold, cold night to make phone calls,” said Sheila Gaddis, VLSP executive director. “And a special shout to the firms of Evans & Fox; Kammholz & Messina; Woods Oviatt Gilman and Ward Greenberg for firm gifts already committed.”

CFJ co-chairs Tom Richards, VLSP board chair, and Maureen Mulholland, vice president and general counsel for Monro Muffler Brake Inc., were on hand to coach the volunteer callers, and long-time loyal campaigner Eileen Buholtz shared a bit of history about the early days of the Campaign for Justice.

Richards talked about the need to get more young people involved with the campaign, acknowledging that some of the long-time loyal donors are beginning to age out. “Maybe it’s why they put me in charge of the grandparent generation,” he joked.

Jeremy Cooney, chief of staff to Mayor Lovely A. Warren, is also helping to co-chair this year’s event, heading up the Law Firm Challenge Committee, which includes Destini Bowman, Hanok George, Alishba Kassin, Bill Lowe, Meghan McGuire, John Moragne and Jimmy Paulino. The Law Firm Challenge supports the drive for more young donors by establishing a short-term competition.

More information about the challenge among small, medium and large firms, along with public/government practices can be found at the VLSP website at www.vlsprochester.org, under the “donate” link. The website also has a video segment featuring Mulholland, Meghan McGuire and Maura McGuire explaining the purpose of the campaign and the Law Firm Challenge.

A list of firms participating in each category is available on the website along with graphic comparisons of new donors in two categories – under 40 and over 40.

– Photos by Nora A. Jones