Warren Jackson, an attorney for DirecTV, arranged Brotherhood Crusade to receive unclaimed funds.
Last week, Charisse Bremond Weaver, the president and CEO of Brotherhood Crusade, listened to a phone message. A female voice said, “Brotherhood Crusade has a settlement check for $17,000.”
“I didn’t quite know what it was about, but I was extremely happy and very surprised,” said Bremond Weaver. For hours, however, the details remained murky.
As the fine print began to fill in, she found out that the check coming to the Brotherhood would be for exactly $17, 442.99. And the person she had to thank for it was DirecTV attorney Warren Jackson. He had suggested that the 43-year-old nonprofit be the recipient of funds from a class-action case where, for one reason or another, the money could not be distributed to the plaintiffs. It may have been that they could not be found, or that some never cashed their checks—but whatever the reason, the residual funds were now being contributed to the Brotherhood Crusade, which offers everything from health and fitness programs, to education, to economic empowerment, as a way to uplift underserved communities in South Los Angeles.
“Technically, at the end of the day,” said Jackson, “it’s a donation from DirecTV.” But it was made possible because of a legal rule known as the Cy-pres (sigh-pray) doctrine, where funds in a class-action case that cannot be distributed are given to an appropriate charitable cause.
Cy-pres, Jackson translates, is French for ‘as near as possible.’ And since the case was about unfair wages and poor treatment in a company that DirecTV acquired—prior to the lawsuit, Jackson clarified—“we thought that giving the funds to Brotherhood Crusade was a neat fit, because they are all about advocacy and job training.”
“DirecTV has a long history of supporting the Brotherhood Crusade,” Jackson noted, “going back to Danny Bakewell’s leadership of the organization. Since Charisse took over [in 2006], she has reached out to me, and we respect what Brotherhood does in the community.”
Bremond Weaver says the funds have already been “earmarked for the nonprofit’s Jr. Executive Leadership and Elevate America programs, where youths develop skills sets needed to succeed in the workforce.” The programs help both the unemployed and the underemployed, and service youths and young adults.
“We are very much appreciative,” Bremond Weaver added. “ We are pleased to have such amazing partners, and these funds will make a big difference.