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Skip a lunch to benefit program

Adult Felony Drug Court Judge Albert Collier with a successful graduate, Todd Cox, in May 2013. Cox is vice president of the steering committee for Clayton County Accountability Courts. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

Adult Felony Drug Court Judge Albert Collier with a successful graduate, Todd Cox, in May 2013. Cox is vice president of the steering committee for Clayton County Accountability Courts. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

JONESBORO — Skip a lunch — or eat anyway and make a $10 donation — to support Clayton County Accountability Courts Programs efforts to become a nonprofit entity.

The Adult Felony Drug Court and DUI/Drug Court are the county’s Accountability Courts. Clayton County Superior Court Judge Albert Collier oversees the felony program. State Court Judge Linda S. Cowen supervises the misdemeanor program.

Both programs are trying to raise money but supporters are reluctant to make contributions that aren’t tax-deductible, said Deborah A. Boddie, Accountability Courts coordinator. The programs can’t achieve nonprofit status without filing legal documents, which costs about $1,500.

“We’re in a catch-22,” said Collier during a recent steering committee meeting. “No one wants to donate unless they can deduct it and we can’t take tax-deductible contributions unless we are a nonprofit.”

Boddie said members of both court teams is “trying to be creative” in helping the steering committee raise the $1,500 to apply and file for 501(c)(3) certification. A “Skip-A-Lunch” campaign is underway and continues until Aug. 29. Officials are asking for a $10 donation from supporters.

Boddie said all money raised during the campaign will go toward getting the 501(c)(3) certification for the Accountability Courts.

“By becoming a nonprofit organization, the Accountability Courts Program will be able to receive tax-free donations from local businesses,” she said. “These donations will be used to cover program expenses such as graduations and stakeholders meetings.”

The program cannot use county or grant funds to pay the fees.

Offenders are screened and cannot have a violent past or charges involving the sale of drugs. Participants pay their way through the program, perform community service, attend meetings, be employed, have transportation, live in appropriate housing, are subject to curfew hours, random drug screenings and visits from law enforcement officers.

For information on the programs or to make a donation, contact Boddie at 770-347-0181 or through email at Deborah.Boddie@co.clayton.ga.us.