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New Justice Fund Honors Mike McIntyre

New Justice Fund Honors Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre acknowledges justice fund dedication as President Caryn McNeill looks on.

The Douglas Carmichael McIntyre II Justice Fund Dedication Ceremony was presented by the North Carolina Bar Foundation on Thursday, Nov. 2, at the N.C. Bar Center in Cary. The restricted NCBF Endowment Fund establishes the McIntyre Youth Leadership Challenge.

Caryn McNeill, president of the NCBF and the North Carolina Bar Association, presided. Program participants included Mike Medford of the NCBF Development Committee and Executive Director Jason Hensley who directed the unveiling of the Justice Fund plaque. Robert E. Price provided the prayer of dedication and David F. Branch Jr. and Shirley Stockton provided personal reflections, followed by remarks from McIntyre.

Justice Funds are naming opportunities underwritten through gifts to the NCBF Endowment. They honor North Carolina lawyers, past and present, whose careers have shown dedication to the pursuit of justice and outstanding service to the profession and to the public.

The McIntyre Youth Leadership Challenge is made possible through a $100,000 contribution from McIntyre’s congressional campaign fund that was earmarked for the NCBF Endowment. McIntyre served nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997-2015.

Justice Fund honorees receive special recognition in the form of a permanent, copper-etched plaque and biographical sketch maintained at the N.C. Bar Center. Contributions to the NCBF Endowment and the proceeds they generate in perpetuity provide funding for grants that help fulfill the objectives of the North Carolina Bar Foundation.

Established in 1987, the NCBF Endowment has awarded nearly $5.8 million for 729 grants across North Carolina.

Learn more about the honoree and the McIntyre Youth Leadership Challenge from the following biographical sketch that accompanied the establishment of the Douglas Carmichael McIntyre II Justice Fund.

Mike McIntyre Biography
The Youth Leadership Challenge may be a new venture for the North Carolina Bar Foundation, but for Mike McIntyre, it represents the latest effort in a career that has been devoted to encouraging students to embrace the principles of good citizenship.

The former congressman from Robeson County, who now serves as Senior Advisor & Director of Government Relations in Poyner Spruill’s Raleigh office, announced the program at the 2017 NCBA Annual Meeting in Asheville.

“It is our hope that this new Youth Leadership Challenge will be part of our Law Day activities,” McIntyre said, “and will light a fire in young people to demonstrate how through good citizenship, civic engagement, and dynamic leadership, they can carry the torch forward, and challenge themselves and others to discover new solutions to the problems their communities face.”

“Thank you for this opportunity to inspire, excite and ignite the next generation of leaders in our state!”

Even before Mike was elected to Congress, he spent countless hours as a school volunteer, helping kids gain a better understanding of our government and the rule of law. He continued that tradition while in office, teaching his popular "Classroom from Congress on Citizenship" and hosting his Annual Youth Leadership Summit to inspire students to give back to their communities. With his retirement from Congress, the Mike McIntyre for Congress Committee has donated $100,000 to the North Carolina Bar Foundation Endowment in his honor to establish the Mike McIntyre Justice Fund.

“My wife,” McIntyre said, “encouraged me to continue my passion of helping young people, as I had been so deeply involved in citizenship programs and volunteering in the classroom ever since I first started practicing law in my hometown of Lumberton in 1981.”

From the very first year of his law practice, Mike has inspired citizens, students and his fellow attorneys by his professionalism, integrity, and service both through the practice of law and community service.

He founded and chaired the Citizenship Education Committee of the Robeson County Bar in 1981, inspiring other lawyers to follow his example of volunteering in the classroom, working with teachers and students, helping them better understand our judicial and political systems.

Mike served on the Executive Committee of the Citizenship Education Committee of the ABA Young Lawyers Division. Because of his exemplary involvement with students, he subsequently was appointed chairman of what was known as the NCBA Youth Education Committee, which he successfully changed the name to Citizenship Education Committee, because of the expanded reach he wanted the committee to have, emphasizing civic responsibilities for all citizens.

Mike wrote lawyer-teacher-student lesson plans for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction on sex discrimination in sports and on understanding the law. He was named by the N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction to his advisory committee on law-related education.

As chairman of the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution Celebration for Robeson County, McIntyre organized several opportunities for lawyers to join teachers in emphasizing our individual rights and understanding of the Constitution. He also arranged for a theatrical group that sang about the signing of the Constitution, “The Four Little Pages” from Philadelphia, to perform in Lumberton. He personally oversaw the distribution of a lithograph of the famous Howard Chandler Christy painting of the signing of the Constitution to schools, the public library and county courthouse as a permanent reminder of this historic event.

He served on the NCBA Lawyers Advisory Committee to the N.C. Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution and spoke to numerous organizations & classes. With his extensive work promoting the Constitution, he received the National Bicentennial Leadership Award, and Robeson County itself was also honored because of its dynamic celebration, which Mike coordinated with the county's celebration of its own bicentennial.

Additionally, in 1986-87 Mike served as State President of the Christian Legal Society, a fellowship of lawyers, judges and law students, through which he organized a conference with N.C. Supreme Court Justice Jim Exum and state leaders to examine the intellectual and religious influences on society at the time of the writing of the Constitution.

In 1983 he also served on the ABA/YLD National Community Law Week Committee and locally chaired the county Law Day Committee. He also coordinated placement of lawyers in the schools to commemorate Law Day and spoke about the importance of the law at a local worship service since Law Day was on a Sunday that year. He worked with social studies teachers on helping youth understand our judicial system. Also, he was named to a regional law and economics council for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

The N.C. Jaycees recognized McIntyre as one of the state's Five Outstanding Young North Carolinians of the Year in 1987. In 1989 he received the Governor's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service for his work with school children and educators. In 1990 he was named School Volunteer of the Year for his county. He continued to volunteer in the schools throughout his Congressional career, emphasizing what he called “the 3R’s of Citizenship: Rights, Responsibilities and Respect.” The North Carolina PTA has selected him as an Honorary Life Member.

He was president of a downtown revitalization corporation for Lumberton, which won both state and national recognition under his leadership, including the designation as a Downtown Historic District by the U.S. Department of Interior. He also was a delegate in 1995 for Lumberton’s successful All-America City bid, in which race relations, social, economic and civic engagement were highlighted.

He served as legislative chairman of the PTA for a local elementary school and helped bring computers to classrooms in the state's poorest county. He also has served on the Robeson County Human Relations Commission and has been active in Rotary Club and Boy Scouts. In the 1990s, McIntyre coached youth sports for seven years. He coached at least three All-American Drug-Free Sports Teams and helped incorporate the Lumberton Youth Baseball Association, which has spawned regional and national championship teams.

For 18 years, Mike served as a member of U.S. House of Representatives and was known not only for his principled approach in crafting legislation, including the tobacco buyout which resulted in $4 billion for North Carolina's economy, but also for working in a bipartisan way, being named the “Least Partisan” Member of Congress in 2014. He won several National Legislator of the Year awards (for veterans, law enforcement, economic development, coastal and senior citizens issues, rural healthcare and youth sports). He always emphasized that his work as a public servant was to do what was best for “the people back home” and not some national partisan agenda.

He was an original co-chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Responsible Fatherhood, and he started the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports, working with the NFL, NCAA, Major League Baseball, U.S. Soccer, U.S. Tennis, PGA, U.S. Olympic Committee and National Council on Youth Sports to promote youth sports programs nationally. In 2008 he was named an International Sports Ethics Fellow by the Institute of International Sport in recognition of his leadership through positive example.

Mike has been inducted in the Robeson County Sports Hall of Fame, and he holds a black belt in Taekwondo. He has earned the Presidential Gold Champion Award from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

The Secretary of the Navy presented McIntyre its highest civilian award, the Outstanding Public Service Award, for his work with the Navy and Marine Corps. He was also named an All-American Hero twice for his work with veterans, and he has been presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2014 from Governor Pat McCrory.

He was selected as the Distinguished Christian Statesman of the Year (2006) nationally for his dedication, integrity and faithfulness in public service. He has served as an elder, deacon, Sunday school teacher, Bible study leader and chaired his church’s Weekday School/Daycare Committee.

Upon graduation from college, Mike, a Morehead Scholar, was recognized by the UNC Chancellor with the Sullivan Award as best exemplifying in his class "unselfish interest in the welfare of his fellow man.” He also received his J.D. from UNC.

Because of his extensive work with children, Mike was appointed a Charter Member of both the N.C. Commission on Children & Youth (1987-89) and the N.C. Commission on the Family (1989-91). He also served as vice-chairman of the Lumberton Commission on the Family & Youth. Over the last decade, Mike organized a Youth Leadership Summit annually to inspire outstanding high school students from across southeastern North Carolina.

Mike continued his community service, as exemplified by his service to help Lumberton recover from Hurricane Matthew. He is the alumni chair of a mentoring fellowship at UNC, which has recently been named the McIntyre-Whichard Legal Fellows Program, in honor of both Congressman McIntyre and former Justice Willis P. Whichard. This program matches judges, prosecutors and private attorneys with the next generation of lawyers. He also is Legislative Co-Chairman of the NCBA Sports & Entertainment Law Section. As a board member of the N.C. Study Center in Chapel Hill, he inspires students to be faithful to their calling and their values in their future career choices.

Mike and his wife, Dee, have two sons, Joshua and Stephen, who are attorneys. Josh works with the NCBA and Stephen practices in Lumberton at Musselwhite, Musselwhite, Branch & Grantham. Stephen's wife, Angelica Chavis McIntyre, is an assistant district attorney in Robeson County. Josh's fiancé, Sarah Hill Colwell, is an attorney with the N.C. Justice Center in Raleigh.

Mike McIntyre demonstrates the very essence of the purposes of the Justice Fund—through his work, courage, civic activity and public service—by strengthening the American system of freedom under the law. His inspiration, enthusiasm and dedication make him most worthy of the Justice Fund endowed as “the McIntyre Youth Leadership Challenge.”