Vera Names NBA All Star Caron Butler & Former Sonic CEO J. Clifford Hudson to Board of Trustees

NEW YORK, NY– The Vera Institute of Justice announced the appointment of Caron Butler, former NBA All-Star and activist, and J. Clifford Hudson, former CEO of Sonic Corp, to its board of trustees. They join 18 current board members and ten honorary trustees devoted to Vera’s mission to drive change in the justice system and bring it to scale, on a range of issues from widespread bail and pretrial reform, to radically transforming life behind bars, to providing universal representation to immigrants facing deportation around the country.

“At a time of both immense need for transforming the justice system and also unprecedented possibility of reform, Vera is thrilled to welcome two trustees who expand our national reach," said Nicholas Turner, Vera’s president and executive director. “Caron’s deep commitment and his passion to use his platform to share his experience with the justice system and Cliff’s strategic acumen and decades-long dedication to social justice will provide invaluable perspectives on how to take our work to the next level.”

Caron Butler, a native of Racine, Wisonsin, is a former professional basketball player with a 14-year career playing for nine teams. Butler is a two-time NBA All-Star and the 2002 Big East Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year. As a young person, he was involved with the justice system, including being arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison at age 15. While there he spent time in solitary confinement before being transferred to a juvenile detention center and reform school.

In 2005, Butler began organizing community outreach projects that encourage communication and strong relationships between young people and law enforcement. This year, he started the 3D Foundation, which aims to educate and empower at-risk youth with the confidence, commitment and integrity needed for a productive and successful future.

“I’ve always been passionate about lending my experience and voice to causes that have had a lifelong impact on me and on individuals that look like me, and the work Vera does to improve justice systems is a prime example,” said Caron Butler. “I look forward to joining a team of equally passionate individuals who share the same vision and goals for a better nation.”

Following an extended and successful career in business, Clifford Hudson joined the law firm Crowe & Dunlevy in 2019; he serves of counsel in the firm’s Oklahoma City office. As former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Sonic Corp., an Oklahoma City-based, publicly held, restaurant operator and franchisor, he previously served Sonic as general counsel, chief financial officer and chief operating officer. He also previously served as chairman of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, as chairman of Georgetown University Law Center's Board of Visitors, and as a member of the University of Oklahoma College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors. Additionally, he has served on numerous boards related to Oklahoma City, including MAPS for Kids, a $700 million school revitalization program. In 2016, the Hudsons were among 50 philanthropists who pledged more than $14 million to fund classroom projects posted on the website in communities across America. They have also decided to personally fund all of the Oklahoma City Public School District projects. He is a former trustee of the Ford Foundation (New York) and is a past chairman of the board of trustees of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“Vera has become a major catalyst in calling on America to wake up to the consequences of over-incarceration”, said J. Clifford Hudson. “The problem has become too obvious to ignore: mass incarceration is a cancer that America cannot withstand. But I also know that Vera provides the leadership to fight against this cancer. To be able to assist Vera – through board membership and related engagement, in raising public consciousness and revising public policy – is an invitation I heartily accept.”

“We are excited and grateful to have Caron and Cliff’s ideas, life experiences, and skillsets as resources in our movement to secure equal justice in America,” Vera’s Board Chair, John F. Savarese, added. “Caron and Cliff have shown a dedication to social justice in both their careers and personal lives, and the board will be better for their expertise and input.”