The Challenge provides Bay Area lawyers – who are known to be highly competitive and generous – a unique way to give back to the community, have fun, and build morale. Over the last 25 years, more than 50 Bay Area law firms have contributed more than $27 million.
Early Koko Beginnings
In 1987, United Way and volunteers initiated a strategy to deeply engage the Bay Area legal community in our mission. Ted Hall, Director at McKinsey & Company, Guy Rounsaville, General Counsel for Wells Fargo, and Kay Dryden, General Counsel at Charles Schwab formed the founding committee and recruited ten other General Counsel and Managing Partners.
As the committee began work, a picture emerged of highly motivated legal community whose generosity and caring were not always readily apparent to the general public. The committee identified an opportunity to link law firms more directly to philanthropy through an enhanced partnership with United Way and a philanthropic competition.
Koko: A Unique Competition is Born
The competition’s creators knew a whimsical theme would be an important element of the competition. The General Counsel from toy manufacturer, Dakin & Company, provided an inspiration in Koko the gorilla, a popular plush animal based on a real gorilla that learned sign language, and donated our Koko gorillas for the Challenge. Top competitors were awarded stuffed gorillas: “Big Koko,” “Little Koko,” and “Baby Koko” based on the size of their firms. Additionally, the leading employee Campaign Coordinator was called the “Top Banana”.
Within a few years, participating law firms rose dramatically, and contributions grew from $200,000 to over a million.
Where Koko Funds Go
Koko donations are used to support United Way programs that directly serve struggling Bay Area residents. United Way provides the resources and guidance people need to move out of poverty. A gift to United Way, not only helps our community members, but it creates a stronger Bay Area for us all. Learn more about United Way’s poverty-cutting programs.
The Challenge Itself
Firms are evaluated by the Koko Cabinet, using the following quantitative and qualitative categories:
- Per-capita dollars raised
- Employee participation
- Employee giving levels
- Amount raised to support United Way programs via corporate gift, special events and fundraisers
- Creativity of special events and fundraisers
- Partnerships, sponsorships & co-branding with United Way
Click here for a list of last year’s winners.
For more information on how you can involved in the Koko Challenge, send us an email to email@example.com
For Koko Challenge Participants
The Koko Challenge runs September 27, 2012 – November 9, 2012, when applications are due.
2012 / 2013 UNITED WAY OF THE BAY AREA KOKO CABINET
Rick Kopf (Chair)
Managing Director Operations & General Counsel
The Fremont Group
EVP, General Counsel
Charles S. Custer
Gordon & Rees LLP
Nancy Greenan Hamill
Campus Counsel, University of California, Santa Barbara; Senior Counsel, Office of the General Counsel – Governance & Compliance
David A. Hearth
Paul Hastings, LLP
Michael W. Kelly
Squire Sanders (US) LLP
R. Hewitt Pate
VP, General Counsel
Jay J. Price
Associate General Counsel
Bank of America
EVP, CAO & General Counsel,
Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center
EVP, General Counsel
Wells Fargo & Co.
Senior EVP, General Counsel & Secretary
Bank of the West