CHICAGO – Reed Smith’s Chicago office today announced a new partnership with the Children First Fund (CFF), the Chicago Public Schools Foundation, and Edward Tilden Community Academy. The firm is engaged in CFF’s School Partnership Program, a three-year opportunity to provide financial and in-kind support to a Chicago Public School and engage in various programs with students, faculty and families.

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Reed Smith is the first law firm in Chicago to formally engage in the CFF School Partnership Program. The partnership advances Reed Smith’s core values and Racial Equity Action Plan, a firmwide priority launched in 2020 focusing on advancing the interests of Black attorneys and staff that also includes pro bono and community engagement to promote justice system reform, economic opportunity, and defense against discrimination.

“When our communities thrive, we thrive,” said Peter Ellis, Reed Smith partner and litigation department chair and member of the CFF board. “By building an ongoing relationship with students, teachers and families at Tilden, we hope to positively influence students to advance their educations and create greater exposure to careers in the law and beyond. Our goal is to help expand the program by encouraging other Chicago law firms and businesses to commit to partnering with CFF and with other Chicago schools.

Through the partnership, Reed Smith will provide a substantial annual financial commitment to support the school’s budget, initiate new programs, and enhance existing programs, including the arts, STEM, after-school enrichment, and resources to support student health and emotional well-being. The partnership, which extends for three years, includes in-kind donations for back-to-school drives, classroom supplies, teacher appreciation, holiday meals and gifts, and a variety of other essential items. In addition, attorneys and staff will engage with students and families through a variety of programs, including tutoring, mentoring, and career days at the Reed Smith office, attending sporting events and graduation, pro bono services and resume writing for parents, and meeting with school administrators and teachers to identify future opportunities and emerging needs.

According to Johanna Wheaton Dutt, CFF’s director of Major Gifts, the School Partnership Program allows collaboration between the schools and corporate partners to develop meaningful programs and efforts to support the most pressing needs of each individual school. CFF is seeking partners for 19 schools to promote access and opportunity for students.