Duquesne University School of Law

Meet Jeffrey Fromknecht, L'12

From Duquesne Lawyer
Fall 2013

Young Alumni Profile
Jeffrey Fromknecht, L'12

Home: Splits time between Pittsburgh, Pa. and West Palm Beach, Fla.

Education: Allegheny College, BS'04, University of Pittsburgh, MSW'07, Duquesne University, JD'12

Employment: Side Project, Inc., a nonprofit corporation with offices in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Pittsburgh and Erie, Pa. Its goal is to support community-oriented organizations, large and small, through legal and professional support services. Side Project is able to increase the social impact of its clients by allowing them to focus more time and energy on serving their communities and less energy on time-consuming administrative "side projects." Side Project has provided more than 2,000 hours of legal and administrative services to 15 socially minded organizations in Western Pennsylvania and South Florida.

Who works at Side Project? Side Project is staffed by a dedicated team of more than a dozen volunteers with a diverse set of professional skills ranging from law to accounting to information technology. These volunteers make up the Side Project Action & Advisory Committee, which logged a total of more than 500 volunteer hours in the past year. Several Duquesne Law alumni serve on the committee, including Justin Tuskan L'11, Ted Casey, L'12, Christine Serra Cornell, L'12, and Brandon Keller, L'12. Utilizing their diverse professional backgrounds, the volunteers have been able to assist an array of different community-oriented organizations, as well as engage in philanthropic projects of their own design under the management and supervision of Side Project, Inc.

Who benefits from Side Project? Side Project's clients are as diverse as its staff, ranging from health and human services nonprofits to women's advocacy groups to veterans' support groups. The common thread is that all of these organizations are dedicated to serving their individual constituencies in an effort to improve the overall quality of their community. Some of these clients include the Rukmini Foundation and the Arts for Autism Foundation of Pittsburgh, two educational foundations that Side Project helped to obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS. Additionally, Side Project has provided evaluation support for Community Living and Support Services (CLASS) of Pittsburgh, as well as worked with the CEO of the George Snow Scholarship Fund to develop a continuous quality improvement program, which will help to easily capture the impact that the Scholarship Fund is having on the greater South Florida community in which it is operating. Other clients include Tigerlili Resources and Perks & Moore, both of Palm Beach County, Fla., which provides services and support to single women and caretakers, respectively; the Washington County (Pa.) Sports and Recreation Foundation, and One9Five.org, a Pittsburgh-based veterans support services nonprofit.

Why the passion for Side Project? "Combining my professional experiences as a social worker and legal training, coupled with my passion for building community, led to launching Side Project one year ago. Small nonprofits and grassroots efforts are the lifeblood of true community change. We created Side Project to work with and support these folks. As a catalyst and incubator for these projects, we help spur community-led change."

Family and fun: "Being a new lawyer and starting a business consumes most of my time. However, I have the support of my whole family in this journey. When I do have free time, I enjoy cooking dinner for my wife, Anne, walking our dog, Ernie, playing golf and spending time with our friends.

How did your Duquesne Law education contribute to this passion? "The School of Law was an important piece of my professional development and growth as an agent of change in the community. The evening program allowed me to attend law while continuing my work as a social worker. While in school, Dean Gormley, Professor Yochum and (Career Services Director) Maria Comas helped find me experiential learning experiences that matched my interest and passion for community-related work."

For more information, please visit www.sideprojectinc.org or email Jeff Fromknecht at jeff@sideprojectinc.org.

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