Two exciting developments for the Jennings and Rebecca Jones Foundation were recently announced during the Read To Succeed All Star Celebrity Spelling Bee this week.
Ronni Shaw (right) with Mr. & Mrs. Jeff Jordan at the 2009 Read To Succeed Celebrity Spelling Bee. Shaw stepped down from Read to Succeed earlier this year. (File photo)
Former Read To Succeed Executive Director Ronni Shaw has been chosen as the foundation’s new executive director, replacing the retiring director of 26 years, J. Paul Vaughn.
Jennings H. Jones, grandson of Jennings A. Jones and son of local entrepreneur W. Ransom Jones, will join the board of the charitable foundation his grandparents founded in 1985.
Jones is assistant attorney general of Tennessee’s 16th Judicial District, and attributes the foundation’s great success in providing educational opportunities in Rutherford County to the diligent work of his grandfather and Vaughn.
“My grandfather and Paul Vaughan have done incredible work,” he said. “A solid education is the core on which a person builds their life, and our foundation, through its involvement with local educational institutions, has given many people a head start or helping hand.”
“Our goal for the future is to continue improving life through our many partners in Rutherford County,” he added.
Throughout its 26 years, the Jones family foundation has invested in educational initiatives such as the construction of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU and the creation of reading programs in local school systems through partnerships with nonprofits, including Read To Succeed.
As its new executive director, Ronni Shaw said he looks forward to furthering the work of the foundation and feels honored to help lead the foundation toward new investment opportunities.
“I have a huge amount of respect for Jennings A. Jones and the work of J. Paul Vaughn,” she said. “I look forward to working with Jennings H. Jones and the board to create the best possible quality of life for Rutherford County’s citizens and their children.”
“I feel my knowledge of the community and my familiarity with the board will help me provide a fresh look at what the foundation can do for Rutherford County,” she added.
Current Jones Foundation Board members include Chair Emeritus Rebecca Jones, Ransom Jones, Christina Jones, J. Paul Vaughan, Lee Moss, president of MidSouth Bank and Trust, and Jim Burton, dean of the College of School of Business.
About the Jennings & Rebecca Jones Foundation
In the late 1980s, Jennings and Rebecca Jones founded their nonprofit foundation to help others, especially the children in Rutherford County.
The idea of computers in the classroom was new and they donated one computer to four local schools. Jennings Jones got involved in helping the one-room country school he had attended in Del Rio, Tenn., by donating money for a long-distance learning center and library.
When McFadden Elementary School established a magnet program with emphasis on communication arts through technology, the Jones gave a $50,000 donation to install a high-tech broadcasting lab.
The couple also funded a business academy called Corporate Connections, whose objective was to assist K-12 educators learn more about the business community in order to help students be better prepared for the workplace. The foundation also funded a reading academy at MTSU, where teachers will receive instruction in diagnosis and remediation of reading difficulties for children in kindergarten through the fifth grade.
Jennings A. Jones’ financial support over the years to MTSU has made possible the Jennings A. Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise and the Jennings and Rebecca Jones Chair of Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning.
Their continued support is reflected in the establishment of the Jennings and Rebecca Jones Foundation Academy for Teachers of Gifted Students.
Also at MTSU is the Center for Economic Education that is funded through their generosity. Its mission is to support the efforts of K-12 teachers to improve the quality of economics instruction and learning by conducting workshops and providing free curriculum programs and materials.