There’s a lot of talk these days in business and professional circles about “social responsibility” and the need to “pay it forward.” For the attorneys and staff of Dean Mead, public service and pro bono are more than words; they’re an integral part of the business plan. Here, every member of the firm subscribes to the philosophy that service to the community is an essential part of service to the client.
The value of giving back
From its founding 30 years ago, Dean Mead has made community service a core value. As a firm, we’ve always held to the belief that you give back to the community that gives so much to you. Giving back is important, especially in these economic times when other companies are cutting back. Our attorneys and staff are encouraged to become part of the fabric of our community. This allows us to make an even greater impact through an investment in philanthropic initiatives that are important to the community and to our clients.
Dean Mead employees have helped Habitat for Humanity build houses, collected clothing and toys for underprivileged children and donated hundreds of pounds of food to hungry families throughout Florida. But it is the collective contribution of time and money by shareholders, associates and support staff to causes we especially care about as a firm that sets our firm apart. One such cause is education.
Setting an example
Four years ago, Dean Mead elected to put its full support behind a plan proposed by Dr. Deborah German, Dean of University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine, to provide full scholarships for all 41 students in its inaugural class. Firm president, Michael Minton served as co-chair of the UCF Charter Class Scholarship Committee and Dean Mead endowed the first scholarship, naming it for Robert W. Mead Jr., a founding member of the firm and a long-standing legal advisor to central Florida’s medical community.
A high percentage of the firm’s attorneys graduated from the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law so it only seems fitting they are significant contributors to the UF Foundation and Law School. Since its inception, Dean Mead has both established and funded scholarships supporting legal education, ethics and faculty enrichment. The firm also supports SHARE, the Florida 4-H Foundation and the UF College of Agriculture.
In 1995, the firm partnered with Indian River State College to jumpstart the “President’s Challenge to SOAR/Take Stock in Children” scholarship program. Now in its 16th year, the program singles out capable, at-risk eighth and ninth graders in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee counties with the promise of a full scholarship at a Florida college or university if they stay out of trouble, maintain a decent GPA and graduate from high school.
The positive outreach of this program has led to extraordinary results. In 2009, the firm established the Robert “Bobby” Klein Memorial Endowment Scholarship created to honor the legacy of Bobby Klein, a champion of education and a former member of Dean Mead. The young recipient of this inaugural scholarship was especially inspirational because his older brother had also received a SOAR scholarship just seven years prior and was working toward completing his college education at Florida Atlantic University.
To date, more than 800 scholarships have been awarded. Our firm and our clients are reaping the benefits — seeing students who might otherwise not have finished high school go on to graduate from college and returning to become contributing citizens of the community.
The firm’s Viera office has enjoyed a successful working relationship with the Florida Institute of Technology for many years. As a valued client and integral institution in Brevard County, Dean Mead has been pleased to support various programs such as the Florida Tech Sporting Affair to benefit athletic scholarships.
In addition to education, two other “causes” figure prominently on the firm’s community involvement agenda: the performing arts and healthcare & wellness. The Treasure Coast office, for example, was instrumental in helping to raise funds for the restoration and reopening of the 1920s-era Sunrise Theatre that has become a focal point for economic development and entertainment in downtown Fort Pierce. And on the healthcare side, representatives from all three Dean Mead offices are involved in the region’s annual “Walk to Defeat ALS” as participants and sponsors.
Community service complements the firm’s professional activities. As a law firm, our job is to provide a service and ease a burden for the people who trust us with their closest thoughts and concerns. One way we do that is by being involved in the communities we all care about.