March 2014 - The “Drive” to Make a Difference
by Wayne R. Gross
I admit that I’m not much of a golfer. I was raised in a modest neighborhood where kids, and for that matter adults, did not engage in such genteel activities. No kids I knew from my neighborhood worked as caddies; we didn’t even know there was such a job. But my own non-golf upbringing is not going to stop me from enthusiastically attending the OCBA Charitable Fund’s Annual Judge Kenneth Lae Charity Golf Tournament, on Monday, March 31, 2014. Whether you’re a golfer or not, this is a can’t-miss event.
Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, the tournament will return to Newport Coast’s Pelican Hill Golf Club, where attendees can take in stunning ocean views as they play and network. Moreover, each foursome will be accompanied by a skilled forecaddie to help novices like me, who need all the help we can get. But even more important than the golf experience itself is the fact that the event raises much-needed funds for the OCBA Charitable Fund, which in turn uses all net proceeds to support organizations and programs that enhance the system of justice. For example, the OCBA Charitable Fund recently presented $99,000 in grants to eight worthy and diverse causes:
$38,000 grant – Constitutional Rights Foundation, Orange County, a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization that empowers local youth to become active, responsible citizens through hands-on learning experiences;
$30,000 grant – Public Law Center, Orange County’s pro bono law firm committed to providing access to justice for low-income residents;
$15,000 grant – UC Irvine School of Law’s Pre-Law Outreach Program, which assists undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds to prepare for the law school application and admissions process and to understand the unique demands of legal education;
$5,000 grant – Laura’s House, South Orange County’s only state-approved comprehensive domestic violence agency;
$5,000 grant – Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law, Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Violence Clinic, which addresses the unique challenges faced by survivors of domestic violence, as well as offers free assistance in immigration, human trafficking, and protection order matters for clients who meet income eligibility requirements;
$3,000 grant – Orange County Bar Foundation Project SELF (Summer Employment in Law Firms), which provides low-income and at-risk high school students with a hands-on internship in the legal field;
$2,000 grant – UC Irvine Saturday Academy of Law, a series of weekend classes to help ninth grade students in the Santa Ana Unified School District develop the skills they need to pursue higher education and a potential career in the law;
$1,000 grant – Council on American-Islamic Relations. Through its Law Clerkship Program, CAIR’s Greater Los Angeles Area Chapter provides externship opportunities for law students and recent law school graduates to receive hands-on experience providing direct legal services primarily to Orange County residents who have been the victims of discrimination.
In 2014, our goal is to surpass the funds raised in 2013. So join me on the links of the Pelican Hill Golf Club with your clubs and finest argyle sweater vest! Even if you, like me, can’t shoot under par, we can at least look the part, have fun, and simultaneously give to extremely worthy programs.
Special thanks to Golf Committee Chair Daniel S. Robinson of Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, Inc. and the entire Golf Tournament Committee for all of their hard work and dedication in organizing this event.
For more information, to register for the golf tournament, to see a history of grants given, or to donate online, please visit us at www.ocbacf.org.
Wayne R. Gross, 2014 President of the OCBA Charitable Fund, is a founding partner of Greenberg Gross LLP, where he focuses on trial practice, complex civil litigation, and white-collar defense. He previously served as Chief of the Orange County U.S. Attorney’s Office and prosecuted cases of national and international significance. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.