The Dodson Legacy Cousins Share

Nov 14, 2022  |  Layla Price-Bodkin

Each year, three cousins native to Mar­i­on help their home­town through a coat dri­ve for kids. Although one remains in Mar­i­on, the three hearts are focused on giv­ing back through a non­prof­it they co-found­ed and named, The Dod­son Legacy.”

Co-founder Shawni­ta Wash­ing­ton of Indi­anapo­lis shared, Our grand­par­ents, Harold and Mar­cel­la Dod­son, were absolute givers. Our whole fam­i­ly gives. Otis Dod­son, the head of Prince Hall, is our uncle. We part­ner with oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers as well.”

The Dod­son Legacy’s big project each year is the Spread the Love Coat Dri­ve,” hold­ing strong four years in a row. In Octo­ber of 2022, Over 160 coats were giv­en to chil­dren in need after orga­niz­ers gleaned spe­cif­ic needs from school coun­selors. The extra 150 coats were pro­vid­ed to the Grant Coun­ty Res­cue Mis­sion and Open Heart Women’s Shelter.

Co-founder ShaRelle Clark lives in Greens­boro, North Car­oli­na, and stays com­mit­ted to the com­mu­ni­ty where she was born and raised. I feel strong­ly about giv­ing back to the place that made me who I am. It’s impor­tant to remem­ber your roots. The Dod­son Lega­cy is our roots, our fam­i­ly. We learn from oth­ers, and sup­port others.”

Mar­i­on res­i­dent and co-founder, Eri­ka Smith, expressed her pas­sion for help­ing her com­mu­ni­ty. I’m already excit­ed for next year. We’ve already got­ten a call from Burling­ton Coat Fac­to­ry who’ll be assign­ing sev­er­al stores in Indi­ana to help our cause.” Smith explained most of the need seems to be for ele­men­tary-age chil­dren, and they usu­al­ly have to shop for remain­ing sizes after receiv­ing coat donations. 

The non­prof­it is grow­ing each year with more indi­vid­ual sup­port­ers and part­ner­ships. Smith hopes the coat dri­ve will even­tu­al­ly help all school sys­tems in the coun­ty as they make more connections.

Smith offered that Mar­i­on is packed full of resources. There are so many…from food give­aways to dri­ve-up food banks, our com­mu­ni­ty is pret­ty amaz­ing — open and ready to serve. We also have that home­town close­ness. We take care of our neighbors.”

To learn more, fol­low @DodsonLegacy on Facebook.