2017 PILO auctions raise record $20,000 for summer grants

Photo of PILO volunteer auctioneer pointing at the audience attending the 2017 PILO Auction in the large courtroom of the Worrell Professional Center

The Public Interest Law Organization (PILO) raised a record $20,000 from its 2017 annual online and live auctions, which are held to raise money to provide grants for students with unpaid public interest internships during the summer.

“The PILO Executive Board is proud to announce that with your support we surpassed our fundraising goal for the 2017 auction by raising just over $20,000,” PILO President Stephanie Jackson(JD ’17) announced in an email to the law school. “These proceeds will be used to fund unpaid summer public interest internships for Wake Forest Law students through Professor Hopkins Pro Humanitate Grants.”

The online auction was held from Feb. 1-8 and the live auction on Feb. 9 in the Worrell Professional Center. It was open to Wake Forest Law students, faculty, staff and alumni, with Professor Steve Virgil serving as Master of Ceremonies. The professional auctioneer donated his services, the organizers said.

“I can’t resist broadcasting a very public thank you to Stephanie Jackson and PILO Auction Co-Chairs Kristin Smith (JD ’17) and Laura O’Grady (JD ’17) for their monumental efforts to make this year’s PILO auction a success for Wake Forest Law, especially for students who desire to serve the underserved and explore public interest employment,” Associate Dean Ann Gibbs wrote in an email to the law school.

“Planning for the auction is a full-time job which was excellently executed by these outstanding folks as they juggled their lives as students.  We owe them a true debt of gratitude for this labor of love.

“As with any big project, it takes a village… and Stephanie, Kristin and Laura were surrounded by an amazing team of dedicated members of the PILO board and past grant recipients who assisted in securing donations, event planning, cleanup and a multitude of thankless tasks. Thanks also go to faculty and staff who had a hand in this event. And, finally, thanks to everyone who donated or purchased — this wouldn’t have been possible without you!”

Some of the most popular auction items were dinner or other events with faculty members including plane rides with private pilots Professors Michael Green and Mark Hall as well as the weekend rental of Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) New River Lodge and paintings by current law students and Professor George Walker.

Students interested in receiving a Professor Beth Hopkins Humanitate Grants should attend an information session about the grant application and selection process at noon on Thursday, Feb. 16, in Room 1101.

Jackson adds the next fundraising effort, the PILO Golf Tournament, which will be held on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at Bermuda Run Country Club. The goal is to fund every PILO grant request this year if possible, she says.

“All of the proceeds from PILO events go towards funding grants for students with an unpaid public interest summer internship. Last year we were only able to award grants to 80 percent of our applicants: this year we would like to fund 100 percent of students who are in need.”

During fall semester 2016, PILO held its most successful Chili Cook-off to date, raising more than $1,400, organizers said.

PILO promotes Wake Forest’s tradition of training lawyers who serve not only their clients, but also their communities, state and nation. PILO works with the Office of Career Services and Professional Development to create an easy-to-access repository of information for students seeking internships, externships and fellowships, and used the money it raises throughout the year to provide students with the means to pursue a variety of public interest internships during the summer. In the past, PILO grants have been used to fund internships at Legal Aid of North Carolina and work as a legal research intern in Nepal, among many other projects.

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