Editor’s Note: In this feature, the Wisconsin Defense Counsel recognizes a member for his or her exceptional accomplishments, both inside and outside of the courtroom. This issue recognizes the philanthropic efforts of Attorney Matthew J. Richer who has generously donated his time to a local charitable organization in Kenosha following the 2020 riots. To nominate a member for the next issue, please contact the Journal Editor, Vincent J. Scipior, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew J. Richer is an associate at Alia, DuMez & McTernan, S.C. in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His practice focuses primarily on civil litigation, specifically insurance defense and municipal law. In addition to the Wisconsin Defense Counsel, Matthew is a member of the Kenosha County Bar and the State Bar of Wisconsin. Matthew is a lifelong Kenosha County resident and currently resides in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin with his wife and dog. Along with his civil litigation practice, Matthew is a member of the United States Army Reserves Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
Last year, Matthew began volunteering with 1HOPE, a non-profit organization in Kenosha that brings professional and civic leaders together to foster, mentor, and transform neighborhoods into safe and prosperous communities. Through the Foster Family Support Network, 1HOPE encourages and assists individuals and families to care for foster children by giving them a place to live temporarily while they cannot live at home. 1HOPE also works with the Crossroads Kids Club through after-school mentorship efforts to provide a fun, welcoming, and safe environment for young people. Finally, 1HOPE offers a variety of volunteer opportunities to discover, connect and mobilize local resources to unify and transform lives in the community.
How did you get involved with 1HOPE?
Following the riots that took place in Kenosha on August 23, 2020, 1HOPE established an Uptown Recovery Fund to raise money for residents, business owners and property owners that experienced damage from the destructive events. 1HOPE raised over $70,000 and formed the Uptown Fund Recovery Committee to decide how to allocate funds. 1HOPE asked me to join the Uptown Fund Recovery Committee to oversee the administration of the funds.
What is 1HOPE’s mission?
1HOPE provides funds and mentorship to the Kenosha community. 1HOPE believes that mentorship spans across a lifetime and that a positive mentorship experience cultivates independence and confidence for the mentee to be able to thrive amid everyday challenges and setbacks through the mentor’s influence, guidance, and shared insight. Throughout all that 1HOPE does, mentorship is at the core. We identify, develop, and equip our volunteer leaders to be able to advance our work in foster care and neighborhood transformation through providing the tools, infrastructure, and resources to ensure that they are developing into effective leaders that can profoundly reach and impact those we serve.
Through building authentic, grassroots relationships with these leaders, we learn about their desires and dreams in order to connect their strengths to meet the expressed desires and dreams of those we serve. We believe that everyone – those served and those serving – has value, talents, and experiences that bring mutuality to our mentorship approach. We all have something to learn from one another.
What has been the highlight of your experience with 1HOPE?
All of my experiences with 1HOPE have been extremely positive. It is amazing to see such a variety of professionals and civic leaders come together and support strangers in our community with their donations and time. One of my favorite moments was getting to read impact statements from individuals who received funds from the Uptown Recovery Fund. The gratitude and thankfulness expressed made all the extra effort the Committee put in extremely worth it.
How can other members get involved with 1HOPE?
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with 1HOPE?
1HOPE has given me the opportunity to give back to my community is an extremely rewarding way that I intend on continuing into the future. As an attorney, we have valuable skill sets and leadership skills that can impact not only individuals, but the structure of organizations. The extra time and effort I put into 1HOPE has been paid back to me with interest by the enriching and rewarding feelings I had from helping others in their time of need.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill