Celebrating Jean Winfrey, 2019 Visions Honoree

Linh M. Sasser, Marketing Coordinator, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OKCNP) is honoring seven nonprofit leaders in six categories on December 3, 2019, at Visions: A Celebration of Nonprofit Leaders. Over the next few weeks, we will spotlight the honorees in each category.

One of the 2019 Pat Potts Visionary recipients, Jean Winfrey has dedicated over forty years of her life to Little Light House, Inc. (LLH). In 1976, with the desire to help special needs children learn and grow, Jean began volunteering with LLH. Jean retired from the organization as their executive director in June 2019 to enjoy more time with her family.

“The work I have been involved in at the LLH has been one of fulfillment as I see parents encouraged by the support they have received by our staff and realize they are not alone,” said Jean. “No parent ever expects to have a child with special needs. When they first receive the news, they’re not prepared for it, and most of the time they feel like their entire world is turned upside down. In many cases they must become medical professionals, learning the lingo, being trained to use equipment and scheduling constant doctor and therapy appointments. Then there is the emotional, financial and social impact it has on them, as well as the extended family. At LLH, not only do we offer a community of support and encouragement, but the tuition-free services we are able to provide is an additional blessing for these families having already been impacted by so many other expenses.”

Over the last forty years, Jean has served LLH as a volunteer, Volunteer Coordinator, Fund-Raising Chairman, Community Relations Coordinator, Director of Operations, Associate Director and as a Board Member, before becoming Executive Director in 2008.

In 2010, Jean and the LLH Board of Directors began a $17 million capital campaign that led to the expansion of their facilities, allowing them to serve more children and their families. Under Jean’s leadership, LLH was able to operate debt-free, increase their budge and expand their programs to serve more special needs children.

During Jean’s service, LLH was named a top nonprofit in Oklahoma by Guidestar for transparency and stability. Charity Navigator recognized LLH as a top-ten nonprofit implementing best practices.

“I know there are many deserving people across the state of Oklahoma that do so much to help others,” said Jean. “I am honored to receive this recognition and hope that in doing so, I am representing the amazing work being done statewide. Also, I believe all who work with non-profits, especially in the leadership role, must recognize we are not able to do what we do without the help of our devoted staff and volunteers.”

The Pat Potts Visionary award is named for the founder of OKCNP. The award goes to an individual executive leader who, through focus, tenacity and leadership, has inspired the success of a singular organization in carrying out its charitable mission.

To learn more about the 2019 Visions Awards or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.oklahomacenterfornonprofits.org/connect/visions/.

Read about each of the 2019 Visions Honorees:
Bill Citty, President’s Award
Paula Gates, Inasmuch Special Recognition Award
Christie Luther, Rodney Bivens Innovation Award
David and Jean McLaughlin, Lifetime Achievement Award
Joanna Trimble Smith, Pat Potts Visionary Award
Jean Winfrey, Pat Potts Visionary Award

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