[MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ] – Community support of Habitat for Humanity comes in a variety of forms, including professionals donating time to perform legal services. McCarter and English attorney, Veronica Montagna, was paired with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plainfield & Middlesex County by Pro Bono Partnership to provide legal counsel on matters such as Greater Plainfield’s recent merger with Middlesex County Habitat. In total, Montagna donated 66 hours of her time, a value of $24,000, to prepare the merger agreements and to manage the legal filings. The complex and detailed legal process of merging affiliates would not have been possible without the generous contribution from McCarter & English and the diligence of Montagna.
For the Habitat affiliates, this merger brings together neighboring communities and consolidates resources to create more impact in Central Jersey. The merger, which was finalized on May 23, 2015, included a new name, logo, and a much larger service area for the joint affiliate — meaning families who live in Middlesex County who apply for new Habitat homes will now be served with opportunities generated by the efforts of Greater Plainfield Habitat and vice versa.
“When people think of volunteering with Habitat, construction is assumed to be the only opportunity,” describes Rev. Jeremy Montgomery, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plainfield & Middlesex County. “Partnerships with professional firms like McCarter and English enable us to have more impact in the community. Donations of professional services allow us to focus on building more homes and in turn to serve more families.”
What brought this partnership together is the ongoing work of Pro Bono Partnership, which provides business and transactional legal services to nonprofit organizations serving the disadvantaged or enhancing the quality of life in neighborhoods in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The Partnership annually recruits and mobilizes hundreds of attorneys from major corporations and law firms to donate their time and expertise on behalf of its nonprofit clients, enhancing their ability to improve conditions in their communities.
“Habitat’s needs and our firm’s skill set meshed so seamlessly that it was a great fit, ultimately to the benefit of needy families in Central Jersey,” stated Veronica Montagna.
Since the merger, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plainfield and Middlesex County has begun its first project in Highland Park, set to serve a family that was displaced from their home in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy. The new Habitat home, located at 236 South 10th Avenue in Highland Park, is well under way, offering opportunities for the community to volunteer. For more information, visit www.habitatgpmc.org.
About Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plainfield & Middlesex County
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plainfield & Middlesex County, an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, is committed to improving the lives of low-income families by helping them build and buy their own simple, decent homes. Habitat offers families a hand up, not a hand out. Every partner family devotes at least 200 hours per adult of sweat equity to help build their home or a neighbor’s home and secures a 0% mortgage provided by Habitat. Habitat supports partner families with training in budgeting, home and landscape maintenance and how to be a good neighbor. To date, Habitat of Plainfield/Middlesex has built forty homes locally and funded sixty-five homes globally through Habitat’s global tithe program. Construction is almost complete on its largest project to-date, a five-home development on West Seventh Street in Plainfield called “Habitat Village” and its first project in Highland Park is underway. To volunteer, donate, or own a Habitat home, visit www.habitatgpmc.org .
McCarter & English, LLP, a firm of over 400 lawyers operates with offices in Boston, Hartford, Stamford, New York, Newark, East Brunswick, Philadelphia, Wilmington and Washington, DC. www.mccarter.com