Several UMKC School of Law alumni were recently recognized at the 20th Annual Foundation for Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance (LEAP) luncheon.
Among the alumni honored, Scott Bethune (’88) and Grant Davis (’87) were named to the Royal Court as Kings of the 20th Annual LEAP Luncheon for their continuous support of LEAP and Operation Breakthrough.
For their support of the Back to School Breakfast, Lathrop & Gage, LLP received the President’s Award. Mara Cohara (’01) with former University of Missouri Curator, Bert Bates, accepted the award on behalf of the firm. Cohara, a partner at Lathrop & Gage, is serving her third year as co-chair of the Back to School Breakfast, which LEAP sponsors annually for more than 400 students served by Operation Breakthrough. The firm, through its employees and summer associates, has raised more than $22,000 over the course of the past three years, and these funds have been used to benefit children by purchasing backpacks, school supplies and pre-school supply bags.
Three recent graduates, Bryant Ash (’11), Matt Sparks (’10) and Samatha Wenger (’11) were also recognized with the President’s Award. In the summer of 2013 they developed and implemented a service project with the goal of forging a relationship between the legal community and the community at large. Team Discovery of the CMBA’s Bar Leadership Academy chose to assist LEAP by expanding attorney volunteerism at Operation Breakthrough. Summer associates from five large firms, including Bryan, Cave, Husch Blackwell, Polsinelli, Shook, Hardy & Bacon and Stinson, Leonard & Street, were recruited. The team’s long-term goal is to provide Operation Breakthrough with a steady, sustainable, committed pool of volunteer attorneys to assist Kansas City children and families in need.
The Foundation for Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance (LEAP) is a not-for-profit foundation established in 1994 to provide children in need with mentoring services and to financially support educational programs so that children are given the opportunity to succeed. Currently, Operation Breakthrough is LEAP’s primary recipient and, since its inception, LEAP has raised and donated more than $1,200,000 to the program. Operation Breakthrough was founded in 1971 and it provides assistance to children and families of the inner city of Kansas City. Some of the services provided include day care, meals, Children’s Mercy Clinic, dental services, speech therapy, play therapy, housing assistance, food and clothing, and social services.