Paterson Law Firm Marks 100 Years with Their First Donation to the PCCC Foundation
Milestones are often occasions for memorable gifts, but when a Paterson law firm marked its centennial anniversary this year, it was the firm that gave the gifts and the community, including Passaic County Community College, that were the grateful recipients.
“We wanted to support the community where we have been for a century,” said Stephen Raff, an attorney with Raff & Raff, LLP. The firm decided to celebrate by donating to local non-profit organizations that serve the community, among them, the Oasis shelter for women, Eva’s Village, Grace Church, and PCCC. “We’re especially glad to support educational programs,” said Stephen. “Over the years, we’ve given scholarships, funded backpacks and school supplies, and helped kids who can’t afford the supplies they need for learning.”
Founded in 1922 by Paterson native Samuel Raff, Esq., the law firm has remained for 10 decades in its original location at 30 Church Street, right next door to what is now PCCC’s historic Hamilton Club. Yet it was not until just last year, in anticipation of their 2022 centennial, that Raff & Raff made their first donation to PCCC. “We saw a flyer for a fundraiser and thought it would be a good opportunity to show our support for an important educational purpose,” said Stephen.
The flyer promoted the PCCC Foundation’s 500 Stories of Hope Campaign. Launched in Fall 2020, the campaign had the initial goal of raising enough funds to provide 500 scholarships of $500 each to students who would not otherwise have been able to continue their college education due to setbacks and losses they suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic. Inspired by the campaign, Raff & Raff made a first-time donation of $5,000 to the PCCC Foundation, creating 10 scholarships for new and continuing students in need.
“Donations like this are truly the difference in whether or not a student can attend college,” says Dr. Steven Rose, president of PCCC. “When you add in the financial upheaval caused by the pandemic, these scholarships became a lifeline for many students. Many of these scholarships are still available for students who want to attend PCCC for the Fall 2022 semester. We are beyond grateful for our generous donors.”
A family business, Raff & Raff, now spans three generations. Donald Raff, the founder’s son, followed in his father’s footsteps to become an attorney in the firm. Today, Donald is retired and his sons, Stephen and Michael, continue to serve the legal needs of the Paterson community and beyond.
“We are a small, client-based law firm that provides caring service,” said Stephen. “We treat our clients like family.” Raff & Raff offers a range of services including personal injury, family, and criminal law. They have represented thousands of clients over their three generations and expanded services to Bergen County and New York City, but Paterson remains their home base.
The firm was honored last month by Paterson mayor Andre Sayegh in a special ceremony at Raff & Raff’s Paterson office. “We’re here to celebrate 100 years of excellence,” said Mayor Sayegh, as Donald, Michael, and Stephen stood beside him. “On behalf of the City of Paterson, we want to extend our profound gratitude to you for calling Paterson home for 100 years.”
“We love it here and couldn’t think of going anyplace else,” said Michael Raff, the elder of the two brothers who represent the third generation of Raff attorneys. “We like the energy and diversity of the city.” Both Michael and Steven are gratified to be helping families that are truly in need. “We like fighting for the underdog,” says Steven. “Some families have been clients for two or three generations, and they recommend other clients, because they know we care about them.”
Though only recently a donor, the firm has had other connections with PCCC over the years. Michael’s wife, Kathy, was once an adjunct English instructor at the College, and former PCCC student Rocet Rodriguez started working as a general assistant at Raff & Raff over 20 years ago when one of her professors recommended her for the job. Today, she is a paralegal and the firm’s office manager. “Our staff is like family, too,” says Stephen, noting that several other employees also have been with the firm for nearly two decades or longer, assuring continuity into the future.
Now serving as president of the Passaic County Bar Association, Stephen declared the firm’s interest in continuing their outreach to the community. For PCCC, he envisions “creating student internships, speaking at career presentations, and supporting future causes.”
Passaic County Community College congratulates Raff & Raff on their 100th anniversary and is grateful for the generous donation that helped deserving students obtain a college education.
We look forward to a continued partnership with our community-minded neighbor.
The 500 Stories of Hope Campaign continued into early 2022 and exceeded the original goal, raising over $400,000 for student scholarships. Many scholarships are still available for students who would like to attend PCCC for the Fall 2022 semester. To inquire about these scholarships, please contact the PCCC Foundation. Call 973-684-5919 or email [email protected]