Coming Together for Children Alone
2010 Pro Bono Service Awards
KIND hosted an evening reception in New York City October 13 that united a diverse array of KIND volunteers and supporters including our law firm, corporate, nonprofit partners, and philanthropists. The event, Coming Together for Children Alone, which also coincided with the two-year anniversary of KIND’s founding, was a ringing success. While educating people about KIND and celebrating KIND’s volunteers, it also raised more than double the funding goal for the event. In perhaps the most exciting news of the evening, Microsoft announced that it was renewing its commitment to KIND by donating another $3 million over three years.
“It has been heartening to see the growth of the organization over the last two years,” said KIND Board Co-Chair and Microsoft Vice President and General Counsel Brad Smith. “We’ve reached the point where KIND has worked with more than 1,800 children; this number continues to grow and grow. We have trained nearly 1,900 lawyers and have over 80 law firms and corporations across the country participating.” These supporters are providing an invaluable service to unaccompanied children “whose whole life ahead of them may turn on how their immigration proceeding unfolds,” said Smith.
Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker writer and senior analyst for CNN, was the evening’s keynote speaker. He reiterated the importance of the pro bono attorneys who are vital to KIND. “Lots of corporations, lots of private businesses give money but the idea that part of being in this profession is to give your time and to give your expertise to causes that are different and larger than yourselves is, I think, unique to the legal profession and it’s a wonderful thing,” Toobin said. “I think it’s wonderful particularly now as we all know these are tough times for law firms, just like they are tough times for any other business. We are all grateful for your work.”
John Bul Dau, KIND Board Member and a former Lost Boy of Sudan who chronicled his life experience as a refugee child in his best seller “God Grew Tired of Us,” talked about his experience as an unaccompanied child. “I am one of them. I often call us a ‘tribe of kids’ that have been wandering without somebody taking care of them,” he said. “I know myself how frightening it was when I had nobody taking care of me. Today, KIND is taking care of these children; when we were young we did not have an organization like KIND. But today by becoming a part of KIND, we can better locate the children that need to be taken care of.” Read all of Dau’s speech here.
Attendees saw a compelling video with KIND Board Co-Chairs Brad Smith and Angelina Jolie that featured unaccompanied children whose lives had been changed by pro bono attorneys.
KIND Executive Director Wendy Young expressed gratitude to supporters, but noted that “there is much more work to be done. With renewed support from Microsoft and ongoing support from generous friends like you, KIND can build its capacity to serve even more children alone and off them hope and the protection they need and deserve,” she said.