Name: Danielle Whitley
Family: Husband, Jerry and three children, Jake, 5, Ty, 3, and Ethan, 1.
Education: University of Florida, B.S. 1996; University of Florida, Master’s in accounting, 2000; University of Florida, J.D., 2000.
Admitted to the Bar: 2000
Employed by: Foley & Lardner
Field of practice: corporate law
Professional Organizations: Jacksonville Bar Association, The Florida Bar
Community involvement: The Donna Foundation, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid
How did you get involved with the Donna Foundation?
Our managing partner heard from someone in the organization that they needed pro bono help and asked me if I was interested. I didn't know what they did, really, at first. I knew Donna Deegan was a breast cancer survivor, but I didn't know what The Donna Foundation did. After I went to the Web site and found out what it was all about, I was in, 100%. Donna Deegan founded “The Donna Foundation” in 2003 as an organization dedicated to assisting underserved women living with breast cancer in Northeast Florida. Believe it or not there are women who are both battling breast cancer and trying to find a way to pay for both their treatment and mortgage. That's not a decision that anyone should have to make. The Donna Foundation provides financial assistance to these women so they can focus on getting well. Both of my grandmothers had breast cancer and other family members have been affected by it, so it's an issue close to my heart and something I'm glad to contribute to.
What is your role with The Donna Foundation and 26.2 with Donna?
I advise The Donna Foundation regularly on a wide range of legal issues. However, my biggest involvement has been with the national breast cancer marathon originally hosted by The Donna Foundation. The 26.2 with Donna, The National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer is the only national marathon dedicated solely to raising funds for breast cancer research and assisting families dealing with the disease. Last year, the inaugural marathon in Jacksonville Beach raised more than $800,000 which benefitted both the Mayo Clinic and The Donna Foundation. I, along with numerous other Foley & Lardner folks, helped The Donna Foundation navigate the legal aspects of hosting the marathon, including the negotiation of contracts with various vendors and trademarking various logos. The national breast cancer marathon will now be hosted by a new, affiliated 501(c)(3) corporation that we helped organize, 26.2 with Donna, whose sole purpose will be to organize and host the marathon. We were estatic that the race got to be so big so fast (we had over 7,000 runners the first year!), but it also turned out to be a big use of resources to put on. Having another entity organize the marathon will allow The Donna Foundation to focus on its mission while still receiving the benefit of the funds raised.
What have you learned through the experience?
Just getting to know Donna Deegan has been an amazing experience. She's good at getting you riled up and wanting to fight for a cause. She is truly an inspiration! If anyone wants to get involved they should check out www.breastcancermarathon.com.
You also donate your time to Jacksonville Area Legal Aid?
I assisted John Wolfel, another corporate associate at Foley & Lardner to form a new 501(c)(3) supporting organization, JALA Foundation, Inc. earlier this year and advise them from time to time on various corporate matters related to this new entity.