Jakobe Family Recognized for Extraordinary Service by Cradles to Crayons
Childhood poverty is a serious nationwide issue and in Chicago, it affects approximately 200,000 children (nearly 1 in 3 children within the city limits). Ropes & Gray’s Chicago office, led by office managing partner Neill Jakobe and his family (pictured at right with Bernard Cherkasov, Cradles to Crayons’ National Chief Operating Officer), has partnered with Cradles to Crayons in Chicago to help the organization provide essential items and supplies to children living in homeless or low-income situations.
In recognition of their efforts, Neill and his wife, Stacy, along with their children, Eva and Isaiah, were honored with the 2018 Donna & Jack Greenberg Extraordinary Service Award during Cradles to Crayons’ annual Gear Up for Winter Un-Gala, held in November. The award recognizes an individual, family or group that exemplifies the Cradles to Crayons mission.
Neill, Stacy and their family have been involved with Cradles to Crayons in Chicago since the beginning and it has been a team effort, involving the Ropes & Gray Chicago office, their children’s school, and a number of other friends and volunteers. The initial Cradles to Crayons team in Chicago set up a temporary home base at Ropes & Gray’s offices, giving the firm’s team a chance to learn about the importance of the organization’s mission in Chicago. During that time, Stacy and Neill served on the Cradles to Crayons Launch Committee, helping the nonprofit form relationships in the community and ultimately open a warehouse—called The Giving Factory—in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, which has served over 110,000 children since opening in 2016. Eva and Isaiah’s school—Sacred Heart Schools—and its many student families have also taken an active and increasingly expansive role in volunteering and donations, with both Eva and Isaiah spreading the word about the organization among their classmates. Today, the Jakobe family continues to volunteer several times a year and seeks to advocate among friends, family, clients and colleagues the importance of helping children in need. Neill also serves on the Corporate Advisory Council and Stacy serves on the Cradles to Crayons Chicago Family Advisory Council.
With the support of the firm, Neill has helped to lead officewide campaigns to encourage Ropes & Gray team members and their families to volunteer with Cradles to Crayons. For the past three years, the firm has participated in Cradles to Crayons’ annual Ready for School Backpack-A-Thon in Chicago to help prepare more than 25,000 backpacks with essential school supplies. This summer, Ropes & Gray summer associates helped assemble gift packages for local children at The Giving Factory.
For more information about Cradles to Crayons, please visit https://www.cradlestocrayons.org/chicago/.