November’s volunteer of the month is Frannie Reilly, a longtime pro bono attorney, trainer, and mentor. Frannie has been a cornerstone of VIP’s nonprofit and small business program for almost two decades. Her advocacy makes a difference not only for the clients she takes on pro bono, but also for the dozens of lawyers she has trained and prepared for their own VIP cases.
Frannie, who now chairs the charitable and nonprofit organizations group along with the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) group at McNees Wallace & Nurick, first volunteered with VIP as a brand-new associate. Thanks to her experience with the legal issues faced by nonprofits large and small, Frannie has been a go-to volunteer ever since for the community groups and businesses VIP serves.
“This project is one of my favorite aspects of VIP’s work,” Frannie said. “It’s all about community building. You help get one business up and running, and then that business provides an income for families. It does work with other businesses in the neighborhood. VIP talks so much about impact, and this is an area where it’s so easy to see the impact on our city.”
Frannie’s work with VIP has a similar ripple effect on her fellow volunteers. She frequently mentors other VIP attorneys on nonprofit issues, and she recalls how it felt to lead a training at a VIP legal clinic: “I remember looking out at the training room and seeing thirty attorneys,” she said. “I spent an hour training them, and then they went on to counsel twenty or thirty nonprofits at the clinic.”
“All those lawyers sat down with their clients and helped them obtain or keep their tax-exempt status. With just two hours of our time, we helped all those community groups meet the legal requirements to operate as a nonprofit,” Frannie said. “It spoke volumes to me about what VIP does.”