The Willie T. Donald Exoneration Coalition & Fund

 23 years, 10 months and 25 days in prison for crimes he did not commit. 

In the state of Indiana, inmates who are found guilty are offered reintegration services after their release from prison, however, those who are discovered to be innocent and therefore exonerated, often after years of imprisonment, are not offered any such support. The Willie T. Donald Exoneration Advisory Coalition and its supporters step in to help fill that gap. This collaboration was inspired by the story of Willie T. Donald, an Indiana man who spent almost 24 years in prison for robberies and a murder he did not commit. In 2016, he was released from prison an innocent man. He had no savings, no car, no healthcare, no job prospects and many other barriers to overcome. A few weeks after his release, he met Dr. Nicky Jackson, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Purdue University Northwest. Since their meeting, Dr. Jackson has helped him get back on his feet, while spearheading conversations with local and national legislators to address the needs of innocent men and women who have been wrongly arrested, convicted, and imprisoned. 

This coalition steps in to help people like Mr. Donald in two primary ways: reintegration assistance and policy reform efforts. As the coalition has caught national attention, it has also caught the attention of innocent inmates seeking similar services from the Advisory Coalition. 

Support through the fund empowers the coalition to provide these wraparound services and resources that are otherwise unavailable to new and potential exonerees, including supporting and connecting agencies in their home states. The Willie T. Donald Exoneration Fund, a fund of CICF, is the philanthropic arm of the Willie T. Donald Exoneration Advisory Coalition. 


Your Support: The Center for Justice and Post-Exoneration 

In partnership with Purdue University Northwest, Dr. Jackson has recently established the Center for Justice and Post-Exoneration Assistance (CJPA). With your support, this center and its impact will be able to thrive. The goals of the center include: 

1. To raise public awareness on wrongful convictions

2. To work on policy reform issues

3. To review claims of innocence among Indiana inmates

4. To offer familial support for those whose loved ones are wrongly convicted

5. To offer post-Exoneration assistance 

The Center’s goal is to raise, at minimum, $561,590 over 2 years; based on current partnerships and commitments, the current funding gap is $82,000. Funds will be used for office space and full-time staffing, including a director, project manager, attorney, private investigator, and administrative assistant. 


Learn more about the Willie T. Donald Exoneration Advisory Coalition.  To contribute to this fund via credit card, click here.

Existing donor-advised fund holders interested in contributing from your fund, contact your relationship manager or email effectivephilanthropy@cicf.org and we will process the grant on your behalf.

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