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Seasons Greetings: The Story Behind the Card
Jane S. Howze, J.D.
Most of our clients and friends know that we take particular delight in The Alexander Group annual holiday card, which we have used over the years to do a number of things: to show who we are, unabashedly ask for business, show our creative streak, unleash our hidden comedic chops and, oh yes, to embrace the essence of the holiday. We were one of the first firms to use animation in our holiday greeting, and to this day we are one of few firms to have hired a marketing whiz to produce a four minute holiday video that was so good people even watched it.
Nearly a decade ago, we decided we also wanted to give. Each year we choose three charities to which we make donations in honor of our employees, clients and friends. Because e-holiday cards are so ubiquitous nowadays, this year we returned to basics. Our card features a clever (we hope) animal theme and three charities that help policemen, abused women, and military men and women serving abroad.
Giving is contagious; at least we hope so in this case. Here is the back story on our choices. Nuzzles & Co. is an award winning no kill animal shelter in Park City, Utah. In addition to their wonderful rescue efforts, through their Purple Paw program they partner with domestic abuse shelters to house and care for the pets of domestic violence survivors. Research shows that nearly 60 percent of women stay in abusive situations longer because they fear for the safety and well-being of their pets. The Purple Paw Program is truly life-saving, giving women, children, and pets the opportunity to escape violence and take the time they need to get resettled. Pets are safely cared for and provided with medical attention, meals and extra love, because these pets have been through a lot too. Nuzzles does not charge for the service and keeps the pets as long as needed.
Nuzzles is led by Kathleen Toth, a former partner with a major Salt Lake City law firm who gave up a successful law practice to follow her passion of rescuing animals. Kathleen is one of my heroes who has easily transferred the talents that made her such a successful lawyer to the not-for-profit world, and whom I will write about in the coming year.
Puppies Behind Bars, founded in 1996, trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and explosive detection canines for law enforcement. Puppies enter prison at the age of eight weeks and live with their inmate puppy-raisers for approximately 24 months. This organization has raised almost 400 EDCs (explosive detection canines), who have done everything from "sweep" both democratic and republican presidential conventions, march up Pennsylvania Avenue during presidential inaugurations, check Super Bowl stadiums before fans arrive, and, sadly, been on hand in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. Puppies Behind Bars also raises and donates service dogs to wounded soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and assumes responsibility for all aspects of the dogs' training and their future lives with service members.
Puppies Behind Bars believe that dogs can change the lives of prison inmates, law enforcement agents and wounded war veterans for whom, in many cases, war has come to feel normal while being home feels very scary.
K94Cops was founded In June 2010 by prominent Houstonian Kristi Schiller to fund the donation of trained K9s to law enforcement agencies around the country. A trained dog has a sense of smell 300,000 to 500,000 times stronger than the human nose. K9s are used to sweep venues for explosives, search buildings for narcotics, and apprehend suspects on the run. In just six short years, K9s4COPs placed 133 K9s with 33 agencies nationwide and in Paris, France. Spurred by the success of these donated K9s, in 2013, Schiller launched its K9s4KIDs initiative, with five schools from Texas to New York receiving K9s through the K9s4KIDs initiative and the goal of providing more security for our schools, the students, and educators.
As we said in our holiday card, The Alexander Group hasn't gone to the dogs...but our donation has!