Boxer & Gerson Partner Dennis Popalardo Jr. was recently named President-Elect of Kids’ Chance California by vote of its board of directors. He will serve in the position for two years before assuming the presidency in 2020.
Kids’ Chance is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides need-based college scholarships to the children of workers who have been seriously injured or killed on the job.
The organization was founded in Georgia in 1988 and has since added 28 state chapters. Boxer & Gerson was a founding sponsor of Kids’ Chance California in 2012, and Popalardo was among the original board members.
“The organization had a natural appeal because its mission allowed me to give back to a community I knew well through my job,” he says. “I had seen how difficult it is for families when they lose an income, and I appreciate how life-changing it can be when a child in such a family can get help to pay for college.”
Popalardo is a certified workers’ compensation specialist who earned his undergraduate degree in politics from Fairfield University in Connecticut and his J.D. degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He became a member of the California State Bar in 1992, joined Boxer & Gerson in 2005, and became a partner in 2012. He lives in Alameda with his wife and their 8-year-old son.
Boxer & Gerson Partner (and avid motorcycle rider) Bert Arnold represented the firm at the Show N’ Shine Toy Drive for the Teamsters Horsemen of Joint Council 7 West (Teamsters Motorcycle Club) last week. The firm was one of the sponsors of this annual event that brings broad smiles to kids—and to plenty of adult motorcycle lovers affiliated with the Teamsters—every holiday season.
The ride is a benefit for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland where many children stricken with leukemia go to receive state-of-the-art treatment for their illness. The hospital is also a major research center focused on the condition, which is the most common form of childhood cancer and affects some 5,000 children in the U.S. every year.
The Teamsters “Horsemen” take it upon themselves to collect toys from members and friends in the months leading up to the event and then take great pride and pleasure in riding to the hospital en masse to personally deliver toys to the children. Boxer & Gerson takes its own pride in being affiliated with this event and the compassionate men and women of the Teamsters Joint Council who lend their energy and enthusiasm to it.
A portion of the toys ready for delivery by the Teamsters last week
The Oakland workers’ compensation community and many others showed up in force last week to support the city’s disadvantaged children, and the result was a record haul of toys and cash raised for the Oakland Mayor’s Toy Drive’s Ninth Annual Opening Reception.
The gala event drew some 250 people to Boxer & Gerson’s downtown offices in the Rotunda Building, where the price of admission was either five unwrapped non-violent toys or $50 that would go to the purchase of such toys. Attendees were treated to finger foods, refreshments and musical entertainment that included the Pacific Boychoir Academy, the Piedmont Troubadours, and the George Spencer Trio.
By evening’s end, attendees had contributed 39 boxes of toys and $32,526 (along with one red tricycle), all of it destined to join other citywide efforts that are expected to ensure that more than 5,000 Oakland children will receive toys this holiday season who may otherwise have gone without. The reception totals far outdid last year’s 32 boxes of toys and $18,000 in cash donations.
Fortunately for event organizers, a large contingent of Oakland Police cadets with young healthy backs saw to it that a good portion of the toys were transported to a warehouse where they would await distribution in the days ahead. (See photo below.)
Also lending huge hands were the Oakland Mayor’s office, the city’s unionized employees, the Oakland Fire Department and Oakland’s own A’s and Warriors sports teams.
The Oakland Mayor’s Toy Drive dates back to 1979 and the Lionel Wilson administration. All five subsequent mayors since then have lent their support and prestige to the effort, which got a small boost in 2009 when Boxer & Gerson’s Maria Sager got the inspiration to conduct an in-house reception for employees who brought toys to contribute to the citywide effort.
That modest beginning has since become a huge boost to the Toy Drive as the opening reception grew into a public event that has been energetically embraced by the workers’ compensation community and other Boxer & Gerson friends. .
Current mayor Libby Schaaf was an honored guest at this year’s reception, as was Interim Deputy Fire Chief Melinda Drayton and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board Presiding Judge Gene Lam. Al Lujan of the City of Oakland, widely hailed as “the heart and soul” of the Toy Drive for the past 16 years, was an honored speaker as he bowed out to let others carry on the tradition he has done so much to promote.
Healthy young backs and high ideals made the Oakland police cadets the perfect candidates to help transport toys to the warehouse.
The 39th Annual Oakland Mayor’s Toy Drive will return for the ninth straight year for its opening reception to the offices of Boxer & Gerson, LLP in the Rotunda Building at Frank G Ogawa Plaza on December 7.
The firm began the reception in 2009 as strictly an in-house affair encouraging employees to donate to the drive while enjoying cookies and hot chocolate in a low-key setting. It has since grown to attract 41 sponsors to a fun-filled reception that draws some 250 guests from the entire Oakland workers’ compensation community. Their “price of admission” to the event is either five unwrapped non-violent toys suitable for children up to 12 years old, or a check for $50 that goes toward buying toys.
The drive collects and distributes toys during the holiday season to needy children throughout the Oakland metropolitan area.
As in years past, the dinner-time affair (5-8 p.m.) will feature catered finger foods and drinks, musical entertainment, and a raffle item that should engender plentiful interest during the event: a signed Golden State Warriors game jersey from All-Star power forward Draymond Green.
Visiting dignitaries will include Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, recently appointed Fire Chief Darin White, and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board Presiding Judge Gene Lam. Music will be provided by the Pacific Boychoir Academy, the Piedmont Troubadours, and the George Spencer Trio.
“The Toy Drive and our role in it seems to get bigger every year,” says Boxer & Gerson Partner Maria Sager, whose brainchild the reception was nine years ago and who still plays a lead role in the abundant planning to which many other firm employees contribute.
Sager notes that Boxer & Gerson employees continue to participate in an in-house toy drive of their own in the days leading up to the reception. Their contributions are added to the larger drive that last year yielded 32 bins of toys from the reception, along with $18,000 in checks. This year, the drive has already collected nearly $30,000 as of mid-November.
“We’re very happy to keep growing this event,” says Sager. “It is always a happy occasion filled with holiday spirit, and most importantly, it ensures that thousands of Oakland children are gifted with toys who may otherwise have gone without.”
Boxer & Gerson, LLP is pleased to help spread the word about Kids’ Chance Awareness Week, taking place this year from November 13-17. Kids’ Chance is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing need-based college scholarships to the children of workers who have been injured or killed on the job.
Founded in Georgia in 1988, the organization has 28 state chapters, with Boxer & Gerson having been a founding partner of Kids’ Chance California in 2012.
Partner Dennis Popalardo
joined the California group’s 12-member board early in 2013, and the entire firm continues to support the organization’s mission financially, by providing occasional meeting space, helping to promote public awareness, and various other means.
Kids’ Chance is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Tax-deductible contributions can be made on the group’s website at kidschanceca.org
. The site also features brief profiles
highlighting the impact of the scholarships on the lives of recent recipients attending a variety of California colleges and universities.
Bilingual Workers’ Compensation Specialist Maria Sager had a busy week representing Boxer & Gerson, LLP during recent Labor Rights Week festivities sponsored by the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco.
The national observance, coordinated by the United States Department of Labor, included local events mixing education and celebration at the Mexican, Guatemalan and El Salvadoran consulates and other venues in San Francisco, San Jose and Napa.
Sager made six different presentations on workers’ compensation to Spanish-speaking audiences from August 27-30. She also staffed an informational phone bank sponsored by Spanish language television station Univision in San Jose, participated in a radio interview program promoting the week on San Francisco station KIQI, attended inaugural festivities at the Mexican Consulate, and participated in a planning meeting involving some 40 people in the weeks prior to the event.
It was the seventh consecutive year Sager had pitched in during Labor Rights Week to help inform Latin American immigrants of their workers’ compensation and other rights under established labor law. The theme of this year’s event was: “Know Your Rights at Work: The Well Informed Worker.” Those include the rights of workers to:
• A safe and healthy workplace free of obvious hazards
• Fair wages—including overtime pay and the federal minimum wage
• The right to speak to an employer about unsafe conditions or unfair wages
• The right to contact OSHA, the Wage and Hour Division, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if their rights have been violated.
Sager makes similar presentations on workers’ compensation at the Mexican Consulate on a monthly basis throughout the year. Following up on the Labor Rights Week events, the Consulate invited her and her husband to a Mexican Independence Day fete on September 15, where some 300 guests celebrated the annual holiday, which is September 16. Known as “El Grito,” the holiday notes the 1810 revolt and subsequent independence of Mexico from Spain.
A Labor Rights Week planning meeting in San Francisco, weeks before the event
As many as seven Teamsters Union trucks organized by Joint Councils #7
are scheduled to roll toward Houston tomorrow, September 8, loaded with a wide variety of relief supplies desperately needed by victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Among the supplies will be those purchased at a local unionized Costco on behalf of Boxer & Gerson, LLP by Jamie Gerson, wife of the firm’s co-founder Michael Gerson. She went to gather goods soon after receiving a plea sent out by Teamsters officials, then delivered them to a collection point staffed by Teamsters Local 853.
The Oakland-based Local 853 represents more than 11,000 Teamsters members in northern California.
The Teamsters convoy will be escorted by the California Highway Patrol, which offered its assistance in ensuring safe passage to the storm-ravaged area that is only in the very beginning stages of its recovery efforts. The Teamsters Union has been collecting supplies from all available sources in its member network, which includes 100,000 working persons spread across 22 local unions in Joint Council #7 and more than 146,000 members in Joint Council #42.
Among the more acutely needed items are new clothing (including socks and underwear, diapers (for both babies and adults), baby formula, bottled water, protein bars and drinks, work gloves and boots, pet food, disinfectant wipes, shovels, rakes, tarps, batteries and much more.
Items must be delivered to union drop-off sites by the end of today, Thursday, in order to assure departure by Friday. Call Steve Bender for northern California drop-off locations at 707-628-8465, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie Gerson, dropping off some of the supplies donated by Boxer & Gerson to the Teamsters Local 853’s Rodney Smith.
Boxer & Gerson LLP’s longtime involvement with nonprofit legal aid, support and advocacy organization Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland has this summer included hosting a student intern for the seventh consecutive year.
David Ruvalcaba is a 2016 Lighthouse Community Charter School graduate who returned home for the prized internship after completing his freshman year at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. He has spent this summer under the wing of Boxer & Gerson Partner Maria Sager, who has included him in a wide range of activities typical of her workers’ compensation practice.
Ruvalcaba’s main academic interests are in physics and law, and he has been considering whether those might be combined in the legal profession. He is currently undecided on his academic major.
The summer internship program is part of Centro Legal’s Youth Law Academy, a multi-year program that supports young people of color in pursuing academic excellence and career opportunities in the legal field. The photo above shows the 2016 Academy members, under the direction of Raymundo Jacquez (back row, right). Sager works closely with Jacquez in planning Boxer & Gerson’s annual participation in the program.
Sager and 2015 summer intern Nori Dubon
In addition to her hosting of a Centro Legal de las Raza intern every summer, Sager also chairs the organization’s Board of Directors. She has been a member of the board for seven years. In that capacity, she has helped deepen ties between Centro Legal and Boxer & Gerson, which next month will include the firm’s sponsorship of Centro Legal’s 48th Anniversary Gala. The event will take place at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland on September 14. See centrolegal.org/gala for more information.
Boxer & Gerson’s All-Star Barbecue Team put together a stellar effort last weekend in the First Annual Teamsters Horsemen Motorcycle Association Chapter 7 BBQ Cook-Off. Five workers’ compensation attorneys from the firm got out to Swiss Park in Newark on a sunny Saturday to help the nonprofit recreational motorcycle group from various Teamsters Union locals around the Bay Area and beyond raise more than $10,000 for the Childhood Leukemia Foundation. The event also included a motorcycle and car show.
The Boxer & Gerson contingent was comprised of (left to right back row in photo above) Warren Pulley, sous chef Justin Litvack, grillmaster Arjuna Farnsworth, sous chef Andrew Levine, and (in front) Dikla Dolev (along with her daughter Adi). Their efforts in producing adobo pork ribs and tri-tip with chimichurri sauce were rewarded with a fifth place ribbon in the hotly contested competition (ambient temperature in the 90s, far hotter above the grills).
Hearty congratulations are in store for the community-minded quintet and their families who supported their weekend charitable activity.
Grillmaster Arjuna Farnsworth applying the finishing touches to his masterpieces.
La Raza Centro Legal is a longtime friend of Boxer & Gerson, LLP. The San Francisco-based nonprofit organization has been dedicated to protecting the rights of Latino, immigrant and low-income individuals in employment, housing, residency status and many other areas since its founding in 1973. Given the commonality of values and concern for oppressed populations, Boxer & Gerson has maintained a longstanding commitment to assisting the organization in any way it can.
On June 6, that commitment manifested in Boxer & Gerson Partner Maria Sager making a presentation to the La Raza Centro Legal staff on workers’ compensation law. The two organizations’ ties will be renewed again on June 16 when Boxer & Gerson sponsors Centro Legal’s 44th Anniversary Gala. The events stand as bookends, in significant ways, to a relationship that has been dedicated to advancing the common good in the Bay Area for many years.
Sager’s June 6 presentation focused on an overview of workers’ compensation law and a review of its benefits, settlements, penalties and civil considerations. The subject is especially relevant to La Raza Centro Legal and its clients, given that immigrant workers can present inviting targets for certain unscrupulous employers who would deny them adequate recourse after they have been injured on the job.
Call 415-575-3500 for more information on the gala celebration or any aspect of La Raza Centro Legal services.