Charlene Jackson Thompson: Attorney/President and CEO of Thompson Economic Development Services, LLC

For Charlene Jackson Thompson (J.D. ’94), the choices she makes about her family, career and volunteer work are deliberate.

“Everything for me comes from a place of service,” said Thompson, who lives in Baldwin, New York.

With a strong focus on underserved, economically disadvantaged communities in Long Island, New York, she is a certifi ed adult educator and a lawyer whose practice area includes real estate, wills, trusts and estate planning.

She serves in an appointed position as commissioner of the Village of Hempstead Community Development Agency in New York’s Nassau County. She remains Of Counsel at Comrie and Associates law fi rm in Freeport, New York.

Thompson is determined to change Long Island’s narrative. She said she is most proud of her real estate work with the Uniondale Community Land Trust, which paves the way for affordable housing and homeownership.

“There’s a long-term affordability covenant on the land, and the ownership of the land stays with the trust,” she explained, adding that the homeowner has to get a mortgage on the cost of the home only, not the land. “If that homeowner decides to sell the house later, which they’re entitled to do, there’s a limit to the windfall they can make on it, and they have to sell it to another eligible homeowner.”

Thompson, who has spent more than 15 years focused on real estate, housing and development issues, said the land trust is a genuine, homegrown effort.

“Being that this Uniondale Community Land Trust is truly derived from the views of the community working together to try to come up with its own solutions … that’s what makes me most proud,” she said.

In 2017, the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce nominated Thompson to receive the Women of Distinction award. In May of that year, Sen. John E. Brooks (D-New York) presented Thompson with that award, citing her dedication to social and economic justice.

While attending Howard University School of Law, she appreciated the diverse knowledge and being allowed to embrace all aspects of herself.

“The thing about Howard that I loved the most was being around so many brilliant minds and people who look like me,” she said.

At Howard, she was relieved she didn’t have to practice code-switching. The broad conversations in class, where students and professors discussed rap music one minute and Supreme Court cases the next, were liberating.

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