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Firm selects Employee of the Month for December 2018

Donna Anderson

Donna Anderson

Donna Anderson, Paralegal, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for December 2018.

“I am extremely grateful and humbled,” Donna said. “I feel truly blessed to work for such a great company that I consider a part of my family.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Congratulations to Donna Anderson, a skilled paralegal, working with our legal team to provide top-notch client service to our often anxious family law clients,” Director Nikki Edwards said. “Clients, support staff and all of the attorneys Donna works with describe her similarly as ‘the calm in the storm’.

“We are so happy that Donna deservingly received the December Employee of the Month recognition. Donna’s insight and dedication are evident in all she does.”

The Firm recently began making a donation to the winner’s charity of choice, and Donna chose Positive Tomorrows.

“We are so grateful that Donna and Phillips Murrah P.C. have chosen to support Positive Tomorrows in this way,” said Susan Agel, Positive Tomorrows President and Principal. “As Oklahoma’s only elementary school and social service agency specifically serving children and families experiencing homelessness, we rely on a generous community to keep our doors open.

“Gifts like this mean that we can continue to provide life-changing services to some of our communities most vulnerable little ones.”

Positive Tomorrows recently broke ground on a new facility in Oklahoma City, and Phillips Murrah has been a supporter of their mission for years.

“I believe children are our future, and the fact that Positive Tomorrows is trying to ensure their success makes this a worthy cause,” Donna said. “Many children would not have the simple pleasures of life such as a meal or a place where they feel safe if it were not for Positive Tomorrows.”

To learn more about Positive Tomorrows, click here.


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/Energage four years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence.

Director Nikki Jones Edwards helps break ground on new Positive Tomorrows facility

Adults from left: Campaign Co-chair Todd Lechtenberger; Positive Tomorrows President Susan Agel; lead campaign donor Nissa Richison, campaign Co-Chair Judy Love; current Vice-chair/Chair-elect Nikki Jones Edwards; David Barry, program alum/current volunteer. Two kids are current students.

Adults from left: Campaign Co-chair Todd Lechtenberger; Positive Tomorrows President Susan Agel; lead campaign donor Nissa Richison, campaign Co-Chair Judy Love; current Chair-elect Nikki Jones Edwards; David Barry, program alum/current volunteer, along with two current students.

Director Nikki Jones Edwards and Phillips Murrah law firm are proud supporters of Positive Tomorrows and happily announce work is underway for the school’s newest facility.

Positive Tomorrows is Oklahoma’s only elementary school and social service agency specifically serving homeless children and their families.

The school broke ground on a new facility on June 12 and announced it met its Building Success Campaign goal of $10.2 million raised from the community. They raised an additional $5 million in new market tax credits, bringing the final project total to $15 million.

The new facility will be over 30,000 sq. ft., more than double the school’s capacity, and will have space to serve students ages birth through 8th grade.

It will be located at 901. N. Villa and include a gymnasium, open commons area, library, spaces for art and music, a special education classroom and a storm shelter.

“In a city reporting over 9,000 homeless children, we feel a responsibility to serve more students,” said Susan Agel, Positive Tomorrows President and Principal. “We are thrilled to take this step forward, and to move toward serving more of our community’s most vulnerable children.”

Positive Tomorrows plans to move into the facility and begin school in Fall of 2019.

Edwards currently serves as Chair-elect and will assume her role as Chairman of the Board on July 1. She, with her husband Director Marc Edwardshas been an avid supporter and involved in different capacities with Positive Tomorrows for more than 20 years.

For more information about Positive Tomorrows, visit www.positivetomorrows.org.

Director commemorates 20 years of service for Positive Tomorrows

Nikki Edwards and Julie McDaniel

Twenty years ago, when Phillips Murrah Director Nikki Jones Edwards first set foot on the Positive Tomorrows campus, she was hooked. Two decades later, she’s still going strong and is now one of the organization’s biggest advocates.

“In law school, I thought I would graduate and work for the ACLU, or some other grassroots community organization, using my law degree to help the less fortunate or underserved in some way,” said Nikki, Chair of the Firm’s Family Law Practice Group. “Although I entered private practice, I still wanted to find ways to serve or advocate for the marginalized people in our community.” A friend introduced Nikki to Positive Tomorrows, and she was off and running.

Positive Tomorrows is Oklahoma’s only elementary school that serves homeless children. The school provides a unique blend of educational and social services to homeless children and families in hopes of providing quality education despite the unstable circumstances that homelessness can create.

In 1997, Nikki began volunteering at the school. At first, she tried to pace herself, coming into the school every month to read to the kindergarten classes. But it wasn’t long before she became a very familiar face around campus, eventually making weekly trips to the school to read. “It was the best part of my week,” she said.

NIkki Edwards, Nedra Funk, and Chris Batson Deason

Her drive and passion for the Positive Tomorrows mission did not go unnoticed. Nikki was invited to sit on the Board of Directors and she jumped at the opportunity. “I served on the Board for several years until my son, Sam, was born. I resigned from the Board to focus on Sam, but continued to support the organization through financial and in-kind donations and attending Positive Tomorrows-sponsored events.”

“During the next few years, while she wasn’t on the board, she was definitely a friend of Positive Tomorrows,” said Susan Agel, Principal and President of the Board. “We heard from her regularly and she was always available to give advice and assist in other areas. I was saddened when she resigned from the board, but I knew she had made the right decision. I resolved to wait until she was ready and invited her back again.”

When Nikki rejoined the board two years ago, she also brought the Phillips Murrah family along with her.

“Phillips Murrah not only supports my efforts at Positive Tomorrows, but the Firm and our employees have become partners to the organization as well. Some of our attorneys volunteer at the school, and the Firm contributes to various projects throughout the year,” Nikki said.

Her dedication to this at-risk population is changing lives. “We work with a very difficult population with every strike against them,” said Agel. “Our lasting legacy is to introduce a different life to children who are growing up in very difficult circumstances.”

Nikki attributes her motivation to serve to her upbringing, giving credit to her mother, Rita.

“My mom, who was one of my biggest role models, was a psychotherapist and she dedicated countless hours to volunteering and training volunteers in the area of domestic violence abuse prevention,” she said.

Nikki uses her mother’s example as a template to tackle a different community problem—homelessness. Applying the same tenacity and commitment as her mother, Nikki has been an advocate, supporter and friend to Positive Tomorrows for two decades. “Homelessness can be never-ending. It has the potential to be a vicious cycle, repeated by these kids because they emulate their parents’ actions,” she said, adding that Positive Tomorrows is part of the solution.

Kindergarten students working dress up for Dr. Seuss Day in a classroom at Positive Tomorrows.

“A professor once told me that education is the lone equalizer, and I could not agree more,” she said. “These children know that Positive Tomorrows is a safe, nurturing and calming place where they can actually learn. Public schools simply cannot provide the same holistic environment of family services and education. Public schools aren’t equipped to handle a child who is falling asleep in class because she was awake all night at the homeless shelter or was displaced in the middle of the night because her family was kicked out of a relative’s home.”

Research has shown that working with homeless children in this kind of environment can have a long-term impact on the success of a child and his or her family, Agel said. “We want children to feel a sense of control over their destiny and that’s one thing that is often lacking for people in poverty,” she said.

In addition to assisting homeless families and educating homeless children, Agel said, “Our role is to help teach the general public about poverty, in general, and homelessness in particular.”

Recently, Positive Tomorrows launched a fundraising campaign to expand the reach of their message and allow the school to provide services to more children.

“We are in the beginning stages of implementing a capital campaign to raise $10.2 million, which would allow us to double our capacity from 74 to 140 students,” Agel said. “So far this school year, we have turned away 88 students due to a lack of space and resources.”

“The new school will have space for a special education classroom and designated space for music and art, as well as a gym for PE classes. The new building will also include a severe weather safe room, which we currently do not have,” she said.

The organization plans to build the school on the NorthCare campus in Oklahoma City.

“The campus is shaping up to be a center for family and child social-emotional health, and we expect some strong programs to develop out of that partnership,” Agel said. “We’re also hearing that other nonprofits are exploring the location and we’re excited about these possibilities for future partnerships.”

Although Nikki’s commitment to Positive Tomorrows spans two decades, she’s already looking forward to the next twenty years. “I’m excited to see what’s in store for our next phase. Our capital campaign is underway, and I have no doubt that our community will rally to support Positive Tomorrows as it has done for many years.”



To learn ways to get involved with Positive Tomorrows, please visit their website here.

Phillips Murrah Director named as Secretary of Positive Tomorrows

Nicholle Jones Edwards’ practice focuses on family law, labor law and general civil litigation. Her family law practice includes litigation, complex custody issues and valuation issues.

Phillips Murrah Director Nicholle Jones Edwards was appointed Secretary of Positive Tomorrows, an organization aimed at helping homeless children in Oklahoma, on July 1.

“Positive Tomorrows is my favorite charity and non-profit organization,” Edwards said. “As the only elementary school designated for homeless children in Oklahoma, it serves as a safe harbor for kids who struggle to have any normalcy or consistency.”

Edwards also currently serves at the Board Governance Chair hoping to further the organization’s mission.

“These are kids who may not see a meal until the one they receive the next day at school, may not have any clothing except that on their bodies the day they enroll at Positive Tomorrows, and who don’t know the quiet respite of the same bed each night,” she said. “Simply stated, this place is their sanctuary.

“All of this is part of the overall mission, of which the primary focus is for the Positive Tomorrows kiddos to receive a top-notch education.”

Learn more about Positive Tomorrows and how you can get involved here.

Firm supports Positive Tomorrows at Cork & Canvas event

Phillips Murrah Directors Marc and Nicholle Jones Edwards.

Phillips Murrah Directors Marc and Nicholle Jones Edwards.

Phillips Murrah sponsored Positive Tomorrows’ annual Cork & Canvas on Thursday, April 2 at the Oklahoma City Farmers’ Public Market.

Positive Tomorrows is Oklahoma’s only elementary school specifically serving homeless children and their families and prides itself on educating at-risk children by dedicating attention to their unique educational and social service needs.

The event includes an evening of food, drinks, silent and live auctions featuring art by Positive Tomorrows’ students, and live entertainment, and typically attracts more than 500 philanthropic leaders from the community.

Learn more about Positive Tomorrows here.