Holiday season a time for giving (and some local organizations you can support, too)

December 18, 2019 | 6:00 am


♫ “It’s the most charitable time of the year” ♫

The holidays are a time for giving. In fact, about 34 percent of all charitable giving is done in the last three months of the year, and of those donations, about 18 percent are given in December alone. Nonprofits that benefit the most from the holiday spirit are medical research organizations such as the American Cancer Society. Such organizations receive an average of 20 percent of their donations in December alone.

For Bakersfield-based injury and accident law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, the holiday season is not the only time of year for giving. In 2019, the law firm, and its attorneys and staff, supported dozens of worthy causes, nonprofits and charitable organizations throughout Kern County during the previous 11 months as well.

“Kern County is the home of our law firm, but it is also the home of our clients, friends, and families,” said managing partner David Cohn. “It’s important we all come together to help our neighbors.”

As we enter the holidays and New Year’s, Chain | Cohn | Stiles would like to recommend local causes and nonprofits you can consider to support, as well as provide some giving tips (below). For a full list of causes supported by the law firm, visit our “Community” page at chainlaw.com.

  • The Hub of Bakersfield: A new local nonprofit, The Hub of Bakersfield, is committed to redefining and revitalizing Bakersfield’s urban core through various programs, events, and projects. As part of the nonprofit, the new Bakersfield Innovation Lab is a 10-month program where a select group of participants, who are passionate about the place they call home, come together to develop an impactful project to make the greater downtown Bakersfield area a more desirable place to live, work and be for all. Why is this relevant for Chain | Cohn | Stiles? Well, associate attorney Tanya Alsheikh is part of the inaugural Innovation Lab class, and marketing director Jorge Barrientos is a program facilitator and a member of the board of directors for The Hub! Not to mention, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has called downtown Bakersfield home for 85 years, so this is an important program. Learn more about Hub of Bakersfield and the Innovation Lab at thehubofbakersfield.org.
  • BMoA: The Bakersfield Museum of Art strives to enhance the quality of life through art appreciation and educational opportunities in the visual arts for Bakersfield and Kern County residents and visitors.
  • Bike Bakersfield: This nonprofit is a local bicycle advocacy coalition providing family friendly bike rides, bicycle safety education, and bike repair. In particular, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has partnered with Bike Bakersfield as part of its mission to reduce the number of accidents in our community, giving away hundreds of free bicycle lights and safety helmets throughout Kern County through “Project Light Up The Night” and “Kidical Mass” events, the latter of which also features bike repairs, safety demonstrations, and a group bike ride.
  • Bakersfield Homeless Center: A recent Kern County Homeless Collaborative report that found a 50 percent increase in the local homeless population over last year’s count. Efforts by City of Bakersfield and Kern County to tackle the issue are underway. To help, Chain | Cohn | Stiles earlier this year donated $10,000 to the Bakersfield Homeless Center’s job skills training program and street cleaning team. The program helps homeless center residents move forward with their lives while making a difference in our community. The program is designed to be a transitional program, where participants gain real-world skills, build confidence, and develop experience to find long-term employment.
  • MADD Kern County: Since 2009, our community has seen at least 4,000 DUI arrests made each year, with nearly 4,400 DUI arrests in 2018, according to the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. That’s 12 DUI arrests per day. For the rate of DUI-related fatal collisions per 100,000 people, Kern County ranks highest in the state and second highest in the nation. Each year in Kern County, dozens of innocent lives are lost – plus hundreds more injured and thousands of friends and families affected – from this 100 percent preventable crime. We can all play a part to help make sure our streets are safe. Chain | Cohn | Stiles for many years has partnered with MADD Kern County to combat DUI crashes. Attorney Matt Clark sits on the MADD Kern County Advisory Board, regularly speaks to DUI offenders during the MADD Victim Impact Panels, and is the recent recipient of the “Pursuit of Justice” Award by MADD Southern California. Law firm marketing director Jorge Barrientos is the planning committee chairman for the annual “Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash“, in which the firm is presenting sponsor.
  • Valley Fever: Last year, California experienced 2,200 new cases of Valley Fever, and most were reported in the southern Central Valley regions of Kern, Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties. In fact, Kern County residents were affected the most with 890 cases. Chain | Cohn | Stiles along with California health officials warn people about Valley Fever year-round, and the firm recently joined the Valley Fever Institute at the annual Valley Fever Walk aimed at raising awareness of Valley Fever.

Giving Tips

  • Before you give to any charity, examine the charity’s finances. Make sure the group is a financially healthy organization, sustainable, accountable and transparent. Look for signs of effectiveness. The charity’s ability to bring about meaningful change is the key reason for their existence and for your donation. These websites will help you check on your charity:
  • Give to an organization that matches your beliefs and goals. There is a charity out there that matches your intentions. Take the time to find it and confirm it offers the programs and services that match your charitable interests.
  • Take the time to research your charity so that you can trust them, and then give an unrestricted gift so the charity has the flexibility to respond to changing demands for its services and to spend the money where it is most needed to continue their day-to-day good work. Don’t put strings on your gift.
  • If you gave earlier in the year to an organization helping in a disaster, go back to that organization and give more. Much of the need from any disaster comes later, during the recovery period.
  • Giving before the year’s end can get you a tax break. Check with your tax planner to see if you’ll benefit.

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If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles gives back in October for scholarships, local nonprofits, cancer fight, more

October 19, 2016 | 8:49 am


So far this month, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has taken part in and supported several local programs that raise awareness of issues in our community, and raise funds to help our neighbors in need.

They include:

  • Tips for CHiPs: California Highway Patrol hosted its seventh “Tips for CHiPs” luncheon fundraiser on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Outback Steakhouse in Bakersfield, with Chain | Cohn | Stiles is serving as a gold sponsor. The fundraiser benefits the California Association of Highway Patrolmen Widows and Orphans Trust Fund, which helps families whose loved ones are killed in or off the line of duty. The fund is organized by the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, a nonprofit that represents about 11,000 active and retired CHP officers, and is dedicated to assisting families of CHP officers. The event raised more than $31,000 this year.
  • Kern County Cancer RunUnfortunately, the Chain | Cohn | Stiles extended family knows too well the effects of cancer in our community. But we were proud to join CBCC Foundation for Community Wellness at the Kern County Cancer Run on Saturday, Oct. 8, at Yokuts Park, aimed to raise funds and awareness, and to encourage our community to support local cancer patients.

And the month of giving back isn’t over for Chain | Cohn | Stiles. Here are a few more upcoming events and programs that you can join in supporting, too, and hopefully will make a big difference in our own community:

  • CSU Bakersfield Alumni Association’s Party in the Park: Funds raised for this annual party — held Friday, Oct. 21, at the CSUB Alumni Park — go toward alumni scholarships, membership outreach, and mentoring opportunities for current CSUB students. Three Chain | Cohn | Stiles associates are alumni of CSUB: Chad Boyles, Beatriz Trejo, and Felicia Schoepfer-Altmiller. Boyles is a member of the CSUB Alumni Association Board of Directors. For more information on the event, click here.
  • Olivia’s Heart Project Heart of Gold Gala: The vision of Olivia’s Heart Project is to increase awareness and prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest in children and young adults through community heart screenings, education and increased accessibility to life-saving automated external defibrillators (AEDs). The gala, which Chain | Cohn | Stiles, is sponsoring, will be held Saturday, Oct. 22, at Four Points Sheraton.
  • American Cancer Society’s Valley of Hope: Chain | Cohn | Stiles is serving as a “Supporting Sponsor” for this event that is aimed to finish the fight against cancer. Proceeds help local cancer patients stay well and get well, and find cures. The event is on Saturday, Oct. 22, at a private residence. For more information, click here.
  • American Heart Association Heart & Stroke Walk: The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premiere event for raising funds to save lives from this country’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers — heart disease and stroke. The Oct. 22 event is designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living.
  • Steve Alvidrez Scholarship Poker Tournament: The annual poker tournament raises money for scholarships for students majoring in criminology or going into law enforcement in honor of former Kern High School District Chief of Police Steven V. Alvidrez, who was killed after being hit while on his motorcycle by a drunk driver.
  • Barbell for Boobs: Inspired by athletes everywhere, the nonprofit is dedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, with an emphasis on women and men under the age of 40. Locally, athletes will come together in an exercise event on Oct. 29, at KC Crossfit.

Outside of the work we do for injured victims, through community involvement, our law firm also supports a number of local organizations. See a full list of recent contributions and community involvement here.