By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Oklahoma City attorney Donna J. Jackson has been named board chair of the SHINE Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to teach the importance of community service and giving back.
“Our organization is thrilled that Donna Jackson has dedicated her time and resources to our cause,” said Oklahoma County District Two Commissioner Brian Maughan, founder of the SHINE Foundation (http://shineok.org/). “I know that her leadership will be essential to the growth of SHINE.”
Jackson holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Accounting from Oklahoma State University. She received her law degree from Oklahoma City University and an LLM (Master of Laws) in Elder Law in Florida from Stetson College of Law.
She limits her practice to estate planning with an emphasis on Medicaid, VA benefits and special needs planning, including trusts, special needs trusts, wills, durable power of attorneys and living wills. Jackson’s law office is located at 10404 Vineyard Blvd., Suite E, in Oklahoma City.
Soon after becoming County Commissioner, Maughan saw a need to combine public and private resources to help improve neglected and deteriorated neighborhoods.
Working closely with court officials, Maughan created SHINE – Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere – an organization that puts low-level offenders and student volunteers to work on community service projects.
Currently SHINE is focused on two programs.
“SHINE for Low Level Offenders,” utilizes a form of alternative sentencing. This program keeps those convicted of nonviolent crimes out of prison facilities. It allows participants the opportunity to stay in their own homes, where they can hopefully become responsible citizens.
The program requires an eight hour workday. It can include cleaning, scrubbing, painting, pruning, mowing and other odd jobs on public lands contaminated with blight.
It offers convicts exposure to honest, productive work, which leads to more self confidence and other positive outcomes.
The second program, “Students For SHINE,” allows service hours for students to help enhance the landscape of their school districts, while instilling a sense of pride. As this program develops, students from all over Oklahoma have the opportunity to interface and network, while making a positive impact on their environment.
The SHINE Foundation has been formed to maintain appropriate levels of funding needed for equipment, supplies and other necessities to assure the legacy and effectiveness of the Shine programs will continue.
The first major event under Jackson’s leadership for SHINE will be the nonprofit’s annual fundraising event, “Concert for SHINE.” This year’s headliner will be Grammy award-winning, Oklahoma native artist B.J. Thomas. The event will be held on Thursday, April 28, at the Riverwind Casino in Norman.
“Our ‘Concert for SHINE’ has turned into one of the major music events of the year in central Oklahoma, with past performances by Wanda Jackson in 2014 and Merle Haggard in 2015,” said Jackson. “This year we were very fortunate that B.J. Thomas supports SHINE so much that he is making a special trip to the state of his birth to entertain our donors.”