Feature Stories

Supporting the Wellbeing of Local Communities through Legal CARES Day

Jun 6, 2018

On May 22, Astellas marked the inaugural Legal Community Advocacy, Representation and Service (CARES) Day, where employees from the Legal and Intellectual Property (IP) department around the world dedicated a day to volunteering in the communities where they live and work.

This activity complements the company’s Changing Tomrrow Day, Astellas’ global day of service. The Legal CARES initiative began in January 2017, offering Astellas Legal employees the opportunity to provide charitable service work and pro bono legal services to those who need it most.

"The Legal CARES Day effort grew from our leadership's passion for service," stated Annie Morrison, Assistant General Counsel, Legal Regulatory and co-chair of Legal CARES. "As Astellas employees, we are grateful to have the support and encouragement to dedicate our resources collectively by providing service, free legal advice and education to community members." 

“It was truly a joy-filled event,” added Lisa Kistler, Associate General Counsel, Litigation and co-chair of Legal CARES. “We are excited to continue to grow this program and reach the underserved in our various local communities around the world.”    

In the U.S., Legal and IP employees left the office for the day to connect with underresourced communities across Chicagoland. Additionally, Percival Barretto-Ko, president, Americas Operations for Astellas attended the U.S. kickoff breakfast.

The projects included:

  • Bernie’s Book Bank: Nine Astellas volunteers helped to process more than 17,000 books over two sessions. Between mixing, sorting and bagging, enough books were packaged to serve 2,800 children. “We are so grateful for their hard work and willingness to complete so many different tasks,” said a Bernie’s Book Bank respresentative of the Astellas volunteers.
  • Northbrook District 28 Schools: Fourteen Astellas volunteers helped organize and direct the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago mock trial program with 182 local fifth graders.
  • Highland Park/Highwood Legal Aid Clinic: Five Astellas volunteers supported 6 seniors as they completed Power of Attorney documentation.
  • Northfield Township Food Pantry: Four Astellas volunteers assisted food pantry clients and helped to organize the pantry’s inventory, including sorting donations and stocking shelves.

Astellas Legal colleagues around the world prepared for and participated in volunteer activities to mark Legal CARES Day.

"We were really excited to take advantage of the Global Legal CARES Day as the official kick off for this worthy initiative in the EMEA region, and the EMEA Legal Leadership Team were very supportive. Adam Lewington and I are working towards putting a good structure in place to make sure all team members are encouraged, and feel able to give their time and skills to those who need it, and we can't wait to get started,” said Manuela Stein, Trainee Solicitor at Astellas Pharma Europe.

In Brazil, the Legal team worked to revitalize a library and set a playroom in the Grupo de Assistência Social Casa de Emmanuel, a home that serves at-risk and socially vulnerable children and adolescents. They also donated funds needed to purchase the renovation items, including lighting, windows, shelves, paint, carpet, tables and chairs. 

“Pro Bono has always been important to me and I am thankful that we have the support of Astellas and our leadership team to support these important initiatives,” said Rosa Estrella, Associate General Counsel, LATAM. “Kicking off Legal CARES Day across geographical borders not only provided amazing and valuable services and support to those in need, but also was a great opportunity to integrate our LATAM Affiliates even more. The level of enthusiasm and support that I saw in Colombia and Brazil were a true reflection of the Astellas Way…everyone chipped in to make it happen and have the day be a success all around!”

In Canada, the Legal team collected 265 donation items from employees over a two-and-a-half-week period to benefit Yellow Brick House, a local shelter for survivors of domestic abuse. Rowena Borenstein, General Counsel at Astellas Pharma Canada, reflected on Legal CARES Day. “As we are a small group in Canada, we were delighted and very grateful that the entire company enthusiastically chipped in to support our local donation drive for Yellow Brick House. The generosity of our colleagues enabled us to deliver many sorely needed items for the shelter’s women and children. We are already talking about how to make next year’s event even bigger!”

Similarly, colleagues in Colombia participated in Legal CARES Day by collecting hygiene supplies, such as bath and powered soap, shampoo and toothpaste, to benefit SANAR (which means heal in Spanish), a local non-profit that has supported children with cancer and their families for more than 30 years. The Colombia Legal team also donated funds and purchased items to support SANAR.

Astellas Farma Colombia volunteers visited SANAR facilities together with their legal firm to demonstrate AFC’s commitment to both SANAR and the Legal CARES initiative. “We are so proud that the AFC team showed its commitment to Legal CARES Day by collecting so many hygiene supplies so quickly. Employees were happy to support SANAR through the collection of supplies that are useful to these families, who come from poor and rural areas searching for treatment and support for their children diagnosed with cancer. The team expressed their gratitude and happiness for being able to support these families,” said Sandra Cifuentes, General Manager of Astellas Farma Colombia.

About Corporate Citizenship at Astellas
Living SMART™ is the Astellas approach to preparing communities today for what can happen tomorrow. The Living SMART framework brings together the strength of the charitable Astellas USA Foundation and our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work to find the areas where we can make the most impact to improve lives. Astellas USA Foundation and Astellas CSR collaborate to create a positive impact on society through three overarching focus areas: health and well-being; Science WoRx (STEM education); and disaster response. To read more about Living SMART, see the Astellas Americas Corporate Social Responsibility Report Card.