Commitment to Community
Committed to our clients. Committed to our communities.
At Aird & Berlis, we believe that the donation of our skills, expertise and time to support social programs and to act in the public interest is key to being a responsible member of society. Our professionals and staff regularly contribute time and financial support to dozens of charities and arts organizations. Our lawyers also serve as volunteer board members for hospitals, educational institutions, charitable foundations and other social organizations.
We believe that it’s important to give back to our community and actively participate in making it a better place for all.
Some of our more significant firm-wide programs include:
- Ongoing commitment to Pro Bono Ontario.
- Support of the David Foster Foundation (DFF), established by the 16-time Grammy award winning Canadian performer, writer and producer himself to provide funding for the non-medical expenses to the families of Canadian children needing life-saving organ transplants. To assist the Foundation, Aird & Berlis LLP has made office and boardroom space available to John Danson, Senior Vice President of Fund Development. In addition, we have donated five million of our airline points to the DFF, with a commitment to donate an additional five million Aeroplan miles, bringing our total donation to 10 million Aeroplan miles.
- Aird & Berlis LLP lawyers, students and staff participate in the annual Canadian Blood Services Law Challenge Blood Drive. Thanks to the generosity and dedication of our lawyers, students and staff members, the firm once again defended its title and won the Canadian Blood Services Summer Law Challenge for having the highest number of donations. Aird & Berlis also supports the Canadian Blood Services’ “Partners for Life” program, a Canada-wide initiative that encourages members of corporate and community organizations to become regular blood donors.
- Annual participation and fundraising efforts in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Big Bike event.
- The Aird & Berlis LLP/Women’s Law Association of Ontario Advocacy Award, which was designed to recognize a woman who has dedicated her time and talents to an advocacy project advancing equality rights.
- Fundraising activities to support the United Way and, independently, various organizations that are under the United Way umbrella. The activities include silent auctions, raffles and other fun events.
- Ongoing support of the Saint Elizabeth Health Care Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and charitable initiatives in home and community care.
- Sponsorship of heptathlete and Pan Am gold medallist Jessica Zelinka, in her run up to the 2008 Summer Olympics. Our support began in the spring of 2007 as she competed in international meets such as the Pan American Games and Gotzis.
- Sponsorship of Clara Hughes, speed skater and Olympic gold medallist, during the 2005/2006 competitive season. She is best remembered for her outstanding gold medal win in the women's 5000m speed skating race at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy.
Our individual lawyers and staff devote their time and energies to many organizations and events. Here is just a small sample:
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada – Aaron Bains was named the 2021 Toronto and National Man of the Year by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada’s Man & Woman of the Year (MWOY) is a 10-week philanthropic competition amongst leaders in local communities across Canada who vie to raise the most funds for the blood cancer community. Aaron took on this philanthropic challenge in honour of his sister Suneeta and the many others who have been lost and impacted by blood cancer. Through his MWOY fundraising campaign, Aaron raised an outstanding $114,131 for blood cancer research. Aird & Berlis is extremely proud of Aaron’s achievement and was pleased to support his campaign.
- Second Harvest Hunger Squad Program – Several firm individuals volunteer to pick up small food donations on foot from a local bakery/cafe/retail store and deliver the food to a nearby social service agency that provides a hunger relief program. Since 2010, the Aird & Berlis Hunger Squad has delivered over 13,000 lbs of food.
- Habitat for Humanity – Several Aird & Berlis real estate lawyers provided their legal services on a pro bono basis to complete real estate closings, whereby nine selected families acquired ownership of their homes from Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization which builds affordable homes in partnership with low-income families.
- Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program – Members of Aird & Berlis provide hot, healthy meals to Toronto residents in need.
- Peter Czegledy is sponsoring Declan McCormack, an up-and-coming member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, for the 2018-2019 season.
- David Reiter advises the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies on issues related to hate crime and hate speech concerning "Your Ward News."
- Partner Jane Pepino is a leading advocate for gender equality, community safety and women's health issues. Her activities include serving on boards and other noteworthy roles for the International Women's Forum, Province of Ontario Women's Health Council, Sunnybrook & Women's College Health Sciences Centre, Women's College Hospital, The Bishop Strachan School, Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, Metro Action Committee on Public Violence Against Women and Children, Mayor's Committee on Employment Equity and the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
- Partner Tim Lowman, a long-standing scout leader, has led various groups of Rovers from the 153rd Old Mill Scouts on treks through the Northern Rockies of Willmore Wilderness Park, Alberta and Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland.
- Partner Nick Torchetti succeeded in obtaining US$600,000 for the Institute of the Blessed Family order of nuns in the small town of Ofena, L’Aquila, Italy after contesting a will dispute. Nick also served as a founding board member of the Kensington Eye Institute and was appointed as the first Chairman of the Board in 2006.
- Partner Joel Rose is a Director and Chairman of the Granting Committee for the MLSE Foundation which supports the refurbishment of athletic facilities in Toronto and funds charities that benefit children through sports and recreational programs. Joel is also a Director of Grapes for Humanity, Canada. Grapes for Humanity hosts wine auctions and charity dinners to raise money to support humanitarian causes around the world. In addition, he is the Director and President of the Robert Kerr Foundation, which is committed to addressing basic and urgent needs to improve the lives of children and the homeless.
Because of their tireless efforts, our lawyers and staff are recognized for their contributions. For example:
- Aird & Berlis LLP has been named as one of the United Way's 2019 Platinum-level Local Leaders, which is the highest level of recognition. This award recognizes that our firm is leading the way in giving back to our community, and shows our commitment to fighting local poverty and changing lives in our communities. Aird & Berlis was also the recipient of a United Way Spirit Award in the category of Employee Campaign for Professional Services Firms. This award acknowledges organizations that bring United Way’s campaign best practices to life.
- Aird & Berlis LLP received an award from Mayor David Miller and the Toronto City Council for our participation in the Partnership to Advance Youth Employment (PAYE) program. The PAYE program, a joint initiative between employers in the private sector and the City of Toronto, was created to increase economic opportunities for youth.
- Aird & Berlis LLP received the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's 2007 Corporate Commitment Award given to an organization that has fostered an environment of volunteerism within the workplace for the benefit of the Foundation. Our lawyers and staff have made over 70,000 pink ribbons since our involvement began in 2007.
- Jane Pepino received the Order of Canada for "lending her voice to those less fortunate or marginalized by society."
- Nick Torchetti was elected as Chairman of the Board of Villa Charities Inc. in the summer of 2007. Villa Charities is the largest charitable and cultural organization in the local Italian community, and through its various related entities, operates cultural centres, retirement homes and other community facilities. Nick was also the recipient of Villa Charities'' "Heart and Hand Award" in 2006. The award is given each year to a volunteer who has gone "above and beyond" in giving of their time, and who embodies the true spirit of volunteerism.