Thousands of calls made between April 20 and May 1 by eight NCRA members who volunteered for the National Court Reporters Foundation’s annual phone-a-thon generated donations ranging from $10 to $995, raising a total of $41,500. The donations are used to help the Foundation support its many projects, including the funding for the development of the new RPR Study Guide, a short awareness video for the Take Note Campaign, the launch of the Professionalism Institute, and a grant to help in the development of a massive open online course, generally called a MOOC.
Volunteers for this year’s effort included NCRA Vice President Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, Mechanicsburg, Pa.; Marianne Cammarota, RDR, CRR, Florham Park, N.J.; NCRF Trustee Teresa Kordick, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, CRI, CPE, Des Moines, Iowa; NCRF Trustee Joan McQuinn, RPR, CMRS, Rockford, Ill.; Merilyn Sanchez, RMR, CRR (ret.), Chandler, Ariz.; Bonni Shuttleworth, CRI, CPE, Crestwood, Ill.; Jackie Timmons, RDR, Darien, Ill.; and Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CCP, Wausau, Wis.
NCRF launched its annual phone-a-thon in the mid-1990s and has relied on using member volunteers to make the calls rather than an outside company because of the high success rate of the peer-to-peer outreach, said B.J. Shorak, NCRF Deputy Executive Director.
“I’ve had the chance to speak with thousands of court reporters, broadcast and CART captioners, teachers, students, and retired professionals for more than the past 20 years,” said Cammarota. “They thank me for taking the time out to volunteer. But I must thank them for their stories and their generosity. They inspire me.”
In addition to helping to ensure that financial support is available for NCRF’s programs, volunteering for the annual phone-a-thon is also a way for NCRA members to honor their profession.
“The Foundation supports my profession through the many programs it provides. Volunteering allows me to pay it forward,” McQuinn said.
NCRF supports the court reporting and captioning professions through philanthropic activities, such as the Legal Education Program, which facilitates the education of the legal profession about the role of the court reporter through Making the Record, a court reporter-led seminar geared toward law students, attorneys, and judges. Under the Legal Education Program, NCRF has also partnered with NCRA at the biennial Court Technology Conference, sponsored by the National Center for State Courts, to ensure court reporter technology is before key players in court administration.
NCRF’s Oral Histories Program raises public awareness about the court reporting profession by focusing on capturing and transcribing the poignant oral histories of American wartime veterans through the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. NCRF coordinates with NCRA members to complete transcripts of the interviews and submit them to the Library of Congress. In the 12 years that NCRF has partnered with the VHP, NCRA members have submitted more than 3,300 transcripts, as well as additional transcripts to other program partners, including the National Equal Justice Library at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., the Center for Public Policy & Social Research at the Central Connecticut State University, and the Illinois State Library. NCRF also provides stories of Holocaust survivors for transcription.
The Foundation also sponsors prospective court reporters through its Student Initiatives Program, which provides several scholarships and awards, including the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship and the New Professional Reporter Grant. The student program also encourages future court reporters to become involved within the profession’s community by inspiring students to participate in the VHP.
The Foundation also supports NCRA’s participation in Intersteno to make certain the organization is able to represent the court reporting and captioning professions globally.
“Every dollar we raise is critical to NCRF and the work it does,” Shorak said. “We have wonderful volunteers who give up about five days of their time and every reporter knows what that means, whether they are an official or a freelancer.”