Poyner Spruill Welcomes Education Law Practice Group

Community Involvement

At Poyner Spruill we are fortunate to have opportunities to give back to the communities that have helped make us successful.

We are proud to call North Carolina home and are very active in the communities where we live and work, both as a firm and as individuals. Professionally, the firm contributes to over 100 organizations and causes, as well as the countless organizations our attorneys and staff are involved in outside of the office.





For several years, Missy Jaskolka has been involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina. She participates in their annual Trailblaze Challenge, walking 28.3 miles in one day to raise money and help make a difference in the life of a child living with a life-threatening illness. In 2022, Grace Sykes Pennerat joined Missy’s fundraising efforts and, together with other Trailblaze Challenge participants, they helped Make-a-Wish grant 23 wishes in the month of May.

Make-A-Wish is a nonprofit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening conditions. A wish come true helps these special children feel stronger, more energetic, and more willing and able to battle their critical medical condition. For many of them, it marks a turning point in their fight against their illness.

We are proud to support this organization and the wonderful things they are working towards. If you would like to make a donation towards our team’s efforts of raising $15,000, visit our team page. Thanks to your generous support, Poyner Spruill was among the top five teams to donate to the 2022 Trailblaze Challenge. To learn more about the Make-A-Wish organization and the Trailblaze Challenge, visit their website.

Claire's Army

What started out as a desire to couple a service project with our Charlotte office’s 25th anniversary has grown into a long term relationship with Claire’s Army through board and committee service and sponsorships.

Visit their website to learn more about the story behind Claire’s Army and its mission to “Serve Families. Love Kids. Fight Cancer.”

Haven House Services

Poyner Spruill has been actively involved with Haven House for over 20 years. Our involvement began by providing meals to the kids in the Transition in Place program for Thanksgiving and holiday gifts for both the parents and kids.

Nina Long is a current member of the board of directors for Haven House and has served in that role since 2010.  She has served as board chair and is currently chair of the Development Committee. Many Poyner Spruill attorneys and legal professionals have been involved in supporting Haven House over the years, either by providing pro bono legal work or sitting on various committees. Nina helped start the now extremely successful Battle of the Bags event and the Law Firm Challenge which pits local firms against each other to raise money for the Haven House Annual Campaign.  Attorney Stephanie Sanders played an active role as Haven House found and purchased their new home in 2021.

To learn more about Haven House and why it holds such a special place in the heart of the firm, visit their website.

Meals on Wheels

Poyner Spruill is involved with Meals on Wheels both in Rocky Mount and in Wake County, volunteering to deliver meals and pack breakfast bags for people in the community. Beverly Ramsey and Ginger Barnhill are most involved with the Meals on Wheels organization in Rocky Mount and they enjoy the people that are able to visit with on their delivery route. In Wake County, Amanda Sherin sits on the Board of Directors for Meals on Wheels, and Colin McGrath chairs the Young Professionals Board.

To learn more about Meals on Wheels and how you can get involved in your area, visit the Rocky Mount website here or the Wake County website here.

Ronald McDonald House

We have supported Ronald McDonald Charities of Greater Charlotte, Inc., for over 10 years. Our involvement began with Tate Ogburn, who is a member of the Board of Directors. He and his family stayed in the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland, Ohio many times while visiting his daughter’s doctor, and since then they have shared their story with the media and local community groups. Tate and his family have contributed to the growth of the Charlotte house and Poyner Spruill has supported the house in many ways, including through the Sport-a-Shirt program and by sponsoring Ronald McDonald Charities’ events.

To learn more about the Ronald McDonald Charities of Greater Charlotte and how you can get involved, visit their website.

Dress for Success Charlotte

Former attorney, passionate advocate and beloved colleague Cheslie Kryst passed away in 2022. Poyner Spruill has kept her legacy alive by continuing to support one of her favorite organizations, Dress for Success Charlotte. Cheslie had her own fashion blog and felt a connection to the Dress for Success Charlotte mission because she knew how important it is to feel confident in the clothes you’re wearing. Dress for Success Charlotte provides professional clothing to women in an effort to help them feel that necessary confidence when walking into an interview.

In 2022, J.M. Durnovich celebrated Cheslie’s memory by participating in Dress for Success Charlotte’s “Stiletto Swagger.” He donned a pair of high heels and competed against other stiletto-clad men to raise money for Dress for Success Charlotte continuum of services including job preparation, job acquisition, employment retention, financial education, and career advancement services.

To learn more about Dress for Success Charlotte, their mission, and how to help, visit their website.

Another way Poyner Spruill honors Cheslie’s legacy is through the Cheslie C. Kryst Advocacy and Social Justice Law Scholarship at the Wake Forest University School of Law. Cheslie, who earned her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law, was the firm’s first Diversity Advisor. This scholarship will be awarded annually to students from underrepresented backgrounds who demonstrate a passion for the pursuit of social justice and civil rights causes after graduation.

To make a gift to the Cheslie C. Kryst Advocacy and Social Justice Law Scholarship, please visit wfu.law/cheslie.

Arts and Science Council

Poyner Spruill has supported the Arts and Science Council campaign since 2004. A significant level of attorneys have provided annual support at the level of the Young Donor Society or the Vanguard Society. We have also hosted an annual fundraising campaign that has seen great involvement from attorneys and staff.

In 2022, Hannah Munn spearheaded fundraising efforts to help the Arts and Science Council continue supporting Charlotte-area artists, organizing cultural education programs and offering professional development opportunities.

Several of our attorneys have gone through the ASC Leadership Program, which has prepared them to be strong advocates and volunteers for cultural organizations across the Charlotte community.

For more information about the Arts and Science Council, visit their website.

North Carolina Community Foundation (Futrell-Mauldin Fund)

Sam Johnson and Deborah Sperati are heavily involved with the Futrull-Mauldin Fund, which is an affiliate fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation. Sam serves as the chairman and Deborah serves as the vice chairman. They have been on the board of directors for over a decade and give our approximately $40,000 each year to local charities.

For more information on the Futrell-Mauldin Fund, visit their website.

Safe Alliance

Through the domestic violence shelter, the Greater Charlotte Hope Line, legal representation of victims, the sexual trauma resource center, and many other resources, Safe Alliance works to provide support and services to those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

Attorney Nick Tosco joined the Safe Alliance board in 2017 because he saw first-hand how much of an impact Safe Alliance can make in the lives of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault since his wife works at Safe Alliance.

For more information about Safe Alliance and how you can help, visit their website.