Committing to Generosity

When Paul Chadha first joined the legal group at global consulting company Accenture, he was seeking variety and the opportunity to put to use the skills he cultivated as an attorney at a large international law firm to develop Accenture into a high-performance business. What he found was a mission far more expansive and righteous: saving children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ethiopia.

As president of the board of directors of Awassa Children’s Project, an Illinois-based, non-profit organization “aimed at assisting children and families primarily orphaned or affected by HIV/AIDS,” Chadha is deeply invested in the cause. As Chadha once stated in an interview in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, “As lawyers, we have an obligation to the other folks on this planet, to make sure they have medicine, food and little basic things like clean water and electricity.”

Leveraging project management and other skills honed at Accenture, Chadha has helped create an amazing system of support for these children. The multi-building complex is well-staffed, enabling the orphans to attend school and receive proper nutrition and medical care. Adult students are able to receive training in vocational skills such as woodworking, electrical, and computers. And the facility is entirely solar-powered, providing 24-hour electricity, with an on-site well to supply fresh, clean drinking water. These are hardly small feats in Awassa.

Chadha travels to Ethiopia when he can, and stays in touch with the children and teachers via Skype, Facebook and phone. Over time he has brought in several lawyer friends to serve on the ACP board of directors, and even convinced one board member to attend law school. Chadha himself is in it for the long-haul. In a profile on the Accenture website he states, “I knew that when I started this it was not a five- or ten-year fix, but a 30-year commitment solving the global poverty issue in this country.” He also acknowledges the flexibility of Accenture and his team there in allowing him the opportunity to pursue his mission with the ACP. It’s to all of their credit that this work is being done to help innocent children ravaged by war and disease find their way to a meaningful future.

How can you or your firm take a page from Chadha’s book and put your legal skills to work for a larger purpose? We can’t wait to hear.