MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (October 6, 1998) -- The law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. today announced that it will donate a gift of up to $30 million to the Minneapolis Foundation, one of the nation's largest community foundations and the oldest foundation in Minnesota. The gift is believed to be the largest contribution by a law firm to a community foundation in the United States. Funds from the gift will be used to establish the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. Foundation for Education, Public Health and Social Justice. The primary mission of this supporting organization will be to create a permanent endowment, income from which will primarily address K-12 education programs, health concerns and advocacy in social justice initiatives for children and disenfranchised people.
The contribution is made possible, in large part, from fees earned by the firm as a result of its representation of the State of Minnesota and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota in the historic Minnesota tobacco litigation. The firm's fees were paid by the tobacco industry and separately from the State and Blue Cross' settlement with the industry. Of the $30 million contribution, $10 million will be donated to the Foundation this year and the remaining moneys will be given over the following two years as and when the firm receives its fees from the tobacco industry.
"Today we are celebrating the firm's 60th anniversary and we are proud to announce the establishment of this Foundation which will supplement and be in addition to the firm's long history of charitable giving. Most importantly, this Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of our children and, ultimately, all of our citizens," said Michael V. Ciresi, senior partner and chairman of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi. "We believe it exemplifies the mission of this firm as it seeks to serve all of the communities in which we are located. Frankly, it is our obligation as lawyers to contribute in a meaningful way to society and I would hope that other firms will follow our lead."
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi represents corporations, government entities and individuals. The firm is internationally recognized for a number of significant verdicts and settlements, including the Honeywell autofocus camera patent litigation; UNOCAL Corp. in the highly publicized California litigation surrounding its patented process in reformulated gasoline; the government of India in the Bhopal chemical explosion disaster; and hundreds of women in Dalkon Shield and Copper-7 IUD cases.
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi is headquartered in Minneapolis and has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orange County, and Washington, DC.
"This is a milestone gift for the Foundation and for our community," said Emmett D. Carson, president and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation. "It's the largest we've ever received in our 83-year history, and it makes an extraordinary statement about the importance and value of community foundations -- as charitable vehicles for businesses as well as for individual donors."
"There were many ways this gift could have been made and we are honored to have been chosen as the most effective option. Even more gratifying is how closely the purpose of this gift matches the purpose of The Minneapolis Foundation -- improving the lives of Minnesota's children and families. The generosity of this firm will have real, lasting impact in our region, state and beyond. It sets a completely new standard in charitable giving for businesses and law firms throughout the country."
Founded in 1915, The Minneapolis Foundation encourages and facilitates philanthropy in the Twin Cities region. Representing thousands of donors who have created more than 400 charitable funds, The Minneapolis Foundation serves the community by building and investing a permanent charitable endowment and using the income to provide grants, loans and other services to nonprofit organizations. With assets of $350 million, last year the Foundation awarded nearly $22 million in grants and loans, primarily in the areas of human service, public benefit, education, healthcare and the arts and humanities. Through its individual donor funds and statewide programs, the Foundation has broad geographic reach. Its discretionary grantmaking is focused largely on improving life for children and families in the Twin Cities region.