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Jack Shakely was born in Oklahoma and came of age working in a family run newspaper owned by his Uncle.  After majoring in Journalism at the University of Oklahoma, Jack, who was greatly influenced by the Presidency of Jack Kennedy, joined the Peace Corp, learning Spanish and serving in Costa Rica.  He came back from Costa Rica much affected by the poor with whom he had worked.  He was also fervently against the Vietnam War. Nevertheless, he was drafted and served in the Army.  Because of his knowledge of Spanish and Peace Corp background, he served out his two year draft in Latin America.

After an abortive run for Congress from his home district, where he was trounced by his opponent, he worked for the Alumnae Office at the University of Oklahoma.  There, he discovered he had a talent for fundraising.

He came to California to work for hospitals in the South Bay, and fast discovered a community of like minded progressive people transforming philanthropy.  At the Grantsmanship Center Jack taught non-profits how to apply for, administer and effectively use grant money to build their organizations.  After an appointment at the Council on Foundations in D.C., he was hired to run the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles.  Under Jack's stewardship, CCF was transformed from stodgy to an innovative and cutting edge leader in philanthropy, funding controversial projects such as needle exchange, new immigrant populations in LA, and services and education to get young people out of prostitution.  He also was a leader in bundling family or single issue foundations under the CCF banner.
After 25 years at CCF, with his work legendary in the field, Jack retired to write fiction, drawing on his love of history, his native state of Oklahoma and his Native American heritage.

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