Red Cross volunteer takes mission of agency to heart --Fran Stacey has served on local board for 6 years


By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

The Red Cross holds a special place in the heart of attorney Francyne Stacey.

In 2003, Stacey, who serves on the board of the American Red Cross - Washtenaw Chapter, adopted two 9-year-old girls from an orphanage school in Russia that was funded, in part, by the International Red Cross.

"This place, which clearly had little money and few resources, took in not only Russian orphans but refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere," Stacey says.

Stacey, an attorney and member of Pear Sperling Eggan and Daniels in Ann Arbor, says her involvement with volunteer and nonprofit organizations gives her an opportunity to balance her life.

"Working as a lawyer is sometimes not quite as fulfilling as I thought it would be when I started my career. I always wanted to change the world in great big ways. Now I know that it's the small steps that make a difference."

Those small steps started in childhood.

Jewish tradition places great importance on giving back and being involved, and when Stacey was young, she gave back in the form of Tzdekah (charity), putting money in a special box at home and giving the contents to the person who made "house calls" to pick it up.

"I also saved up and bought many trees for Israel - it was sort of like collecting green stamps," she says.

"The tree stamps were glued on to fill in the shape of a tree which, when completed, meant that a tree was planted in your name in Israel.

"I've never been to Israel but I believe there must be a forest with my name on it somewhere."

Stacey, who specializes in employment, immigration law and litigation, has been involved with a number of organizations through the years, including the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, the National Lawyers Guild in Detroit, the Human Rights Campaign, and various political campaigns.

The University of Michigan alumna, who earned her law degree from Wayne State University and practiced law in Detroit for a number of years before moving to Ann Arbor, has served on the board of the American Red Cross, Washtenaw Chapter for the past six years.

She is currently on its Human Resources Committee - a standing committee of the board - and also has chaired that panel.

"I also provide legal advice when asked, so I feel like my expertise is helpful," she says.

About three years ago, she went on a Mission Tour at the Washtenaw Chapter facility. Although she had served on the board for a while, the tour helped her to truly understand and appreciate the hard work and dedication of all Chapter members, volunteers and employees.

"I had no idea how much the Red Cross did in Washtenaw County alone not to mention its work with national and international disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti," she says.

The Red Cross is a wonderful organization and Stacey says she is proud to be a part of it.

"The work done by the Red Cross is amazing and incredibly important to all of us."

At its recent "We'll Be There Breakfast," the Red Cross Washtenaw County Chapter reached this year's event goal of $200,000 in multi-year donations.

The event includes stories from a woman who was saved by blood donations, and a family that received help after a house fire.

Another fundraiser, the annual Red Cross Ball was held last October and it too is a successful fund-raiser.

The need is still great and donor support is always needed, Stacey says.

"The board is incredibly energetic and active and the community is more than generous even in these uncertain times.

"To see that generosity first hand every day as well as at our annual 'We'll Be There' breakfast, or Red Cross Ball, is energizing and heartwarming."

Published: Thu, Jun 3, 2010