MANATEE — Finally, www.justforgirls.org is just for Just for Girls.
The Manatee County nonprofit group that helps girls and young women has won a battle to secure its namesake domain name with help from former Bradenton attorney Wyatt Pratt and a local law firm.
Just for Girls unveiled its new website earlier this week, replacing what once was a pornographic site.
Pratt, now senior intellectual property counsel for Tyco International in Princeton, N.J., warned Just for Girls Executive Director Becky Canesse about the adult site two years ago.
“I never actually went on it,” Canesse said. “Wyatt went on it and told me I should not.”
Pratt said he worried people looking for information about Just for Girls would come across the pornographic site.
“It was really troubling,” he said.
Pratt and Canesse began to contest the domain name — the .org suffix is traditionally for nonprofit organizations — but later halted the challenge when the site changed hands and began advertising reputable companies.
After several unsuccessful attempts to purchase the domain name, Pratt noticed the pass-through site was for sale.
The Bradenton law firm of Greene Hamrick Perrey Quinlan & Schermer P.A. stepped in to pick up the $1,000 tab and gave the site to Just for Girls.
Attorneys Kathy Schermer and John Quinlan are members of the group’s foundation board.
“We direct all our funds toward the services we provide,” Canesse said. “We’re so thankful the law firm stepped up and saw the long-term benefit of this.”
Pratt is the son of Jane B. Pratt, the organization’s second president and inspiration for Just for Girls’ Jane B. Pratt Alternative School for Girls, a teen pregnancy and dropout prevention program for high-risk, middle-school-aged girls.
Just for Girls provides educational enhancement, character development and life skills for girls ages 5-18 at three locations in Manatee County.