September 11, 2023

Neesa Patel Sood, a partner in the Asset Management Department in Washington, D.C., recently joined the Board of Directors of Horton’s Kids, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering children growing up in D.C.’s most under-resourced communities. Neesa’s appointment not only underscores her commitment to Horton’s Kids but also builds on Willkie’s longstanding support for the organization, which is the current principal grantee of The Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP Greater DC Community Foundation.

Neesa took some time to tell us more about her appointment, the Willkie DC Foundation and the importance of working to better the community.

Q: What is Horton’s Kids?  
Horton’s Kids is a non-profit organization focused on preparing children from communities in Southeast DC for college, career and life through individualized educational and enrichment programs. They do incredible work in the community and serve over 600 children and their families. 

Q: How did you come to be involved with the organization?

I’ve been involved with Horton’s Kids for over five years through my work on the Advisory Committee of the Willkie DC Foundation – the DC office’s philanthropic arm – that focuses on providing grants and volunteering with non-profits that serve under-resourced areas of DC to provide educational or other enrichment opportunities to children. 

Q: What kind of impact has the Willkie DC Foundation had?

The Willkie DC Foundation has been a key source of support for Horton’s Kids for the last five years and will have provided more than $1 million in funding by the year’s end. Horton’s Kids has been able to expand and open a new community headquarters, Horton’s Hub, that will serve even more students and families. But Willkie’s connection with Horton’s Kids goes beyond financial support. Many of us in the DC office are personally engaged and we do a lot of hands-on volunteering, including monthly tutoring, resume and interview workshops, gift and food donation drives, college examination prep courses, trivia nights, holiday parties and a Willkie internship for Horton’s Kids alumni.  It’s great to come together as an office and pool our resources to make a bigger impact. 

Q: Why did you join the Horton’s Kids board? What are your goals?

This is such a pivotal time for Horton’s Kids. The new community center is a milestone, but there is more work to be done to further expand its services to children and families in the area. My goal is to help spread the word about Horton’s Kids, draw attention to its mission and the transformative impact it has – its students are twice as likely to graduate high school – and continue to work on its fundraising efforts. 

Q: What drives you to work in the community?

It’s really rewarding to be part of an organization that profoundly affects so many lives and makes the future brighter. Nothing is more powerful than seeing a student reach their potential. Also, I personally have been the beneficiary of mentors and programs that helped me get to where I am today and I think it’s only right to pay that forward.