April 5, 2019
Robert Sheehan has a simple philosophy guiding his ideals.
“I like the idea of giving back to kids and seeing them doing what I loved to do as a child and what my kids loved doing,” he said.
That philosophy has led Robert, a former Executive Partner at the prestigious Skadden law firm, to dedicate a large part of his life bettering the lives of New York children and other vulnerable populations.
Because of his extensive work in social justice and charitable giving, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York will be honoring Robert Sheehan on April 30 at our annual Gala, “CCC Celebrates at the Museum of Modern Art.”
Advocacy is CCC’s most essential work. The staff are knowledgeable, persuasive and active. Because of that, we’ve always been strong believers in CCC.
– Robert Sheehan
“Giving back to the community is a part of life,” Robert said. “It’s part of being a citizen and a community member. You just have to give back.”
To list the entirety of Robert’s professional and philanthropic accolades would require a dedicated website.
They include receiving the Laurie D. Zelon Award by the Pro Bono Institute in 2009 (Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presented him with the award), sitting on the Advisory Board of the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham Law School, and in 2005, receiving the Legal Aid Society’s Servant of Justice Award for his pro bono work.
CCC also honored Robert and his wife Beth — a CCC Board Member — with the Eleanor Roosevelt Award in 2009.
Robert Sheehan is celebrating his 50th year at Skadden. In addition to serving as an Executive Partner from 1994 to 2009, he also founded the Skadden Financial Institutions Mergers and Acquisition Group and now serves on the Board of Trustees of the Skadden Fellowship Foundation, a fellowship created in 1988 that prepares young lawyers for civic life.
The fellowship is now the largest public interest law firm in the United States. It has funded more than 800 fellows, with 90 percent remaining in public service, including 19 nonprofit founders, 16 supreme court clerks, 13 judges, and 115 government officials.
He also serves on the Executive Committee of DREAM, formerly Harlem RBI, and served as co-chair of its Capital Campaign to build its school in East Harlem.
“I wanted to do more for children in the neighborhood,” Robert said of the impetus to get involved in creating the DREAM school. “I wanted to reach them earlier and provide more help.”
The 60,000 square foot school was the first new public-school building in East Harlem in 47 years, when it opened in 2015. Now DREAM is building a second school in the south Bronx.
Robert and Beth have had a long history with CCC. In addition to their active involvement, Beth served as the Co-Chair of the Community Leadership Course — CCC’s flagship civic engagement course — from 1996 to 2005.
“We’ve always personally been supportive of CCC,” he said.
Robert views CCC’s research-guided advocacy as its most important element.
“Advocacy is CCC’s most essential work,” he said. “The staff are knowledgeable, persuasive and active. Because of that, we’ve always been strong believers in CCC.”