Steptoe & Johnson’s Phoenix office is closing in on raising $100,000 for charities and non-profit groups in Arizona by allowing employees to wear jeans on Fridays in exchange for a five dollar, or more, contribution toward a designated charity, which rotates weekly. The office’s “Casual Day” fund has raised more than $95,000 since it was launched in 2005. The effort is entirely voluntary, but lawyers and support staff rally around the comfort and the cause.
Casual Day raises money for various charitable organizations such as the Arizona Red Cross and the Christina Taylor-Green Memorial Fund established after the mass shooting in Tucson. Other local causes that have benefitted from the fund include Hospice of the Valley, St. Mary’s Food Bank, “Packages from Home,” and the Pat Tillman Foundation.
“We are more than just an office in the community. We’re part of the community,” said David Bodney, managing partner of Steptoe’s Phoenix office, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. “It is nice to be a little more comfortable on Fridays, but it feels even better to help make a difference. That is extremely important to us, as individuals and as a firm.”
One of the charities helped through the program is Duet, a Phoenix organization that offers support to grandparents raising their grandchildren. Casual Day donations assist Duet in providing support groups and guidance, and organizing much-needed outings where the “grand families” get together.
“It’s inspiring when people at all levels of an organization can get involved in a cause,’’ Elizabeth Banta, Duet’s executive director, said of the firm’s efforts. She said that although wearing jeans to work may be a simple thing, “it’s a simple thing that adds up to make a great difference.”