Harriet McDonald is the president of The Doe Fund, a nonprofit organization established in 1990 by George McDonald, Ms. McDonald’s late husband. Over the course of the past 32 years, The Doe Fund has positively influenced the lives of over 28,000 individuals who have experienced economic and racial injustice, as well as poverty and homelessness. Starting The Doe Fund upon witnessing the devastating impact that homelessness had on individuals in New York City, the McDonald’s have dedicated their lives and the nonprofit’s programs to create accessible, equitable opportunities for all through various work-based programs. Among these programs are initiatives to shelter the homeless in adequate housing, introduce a host of social services to reduce recidivism and find opportunities for employment.
Notably, many of the staff members of The Doe Fund are graduates of the programs themselves, who have leveraged their experiences to help others. Likewise, The Doe Fund provides additional programs that assist indigent communities in understanding and overcoming trauma affiliated with the cycle of poverty and homelessness. For her passion and understanding of the homeless population, as well as her own sense of selflessness, Ms. McDonald has been coined a “visionary for visionaries” and continues to help others throughout New York State. Since 1990, The Doe Fund has expanded their operations to six additional cities, and Ms. McDonald intends to further expand The Doe Fund to incorporate their mission on a nationwide scale.
Moreover, amid the COVID-19 pandemic between 2020 and 2022, Ms. McDonald has harnessed a passion for recognizing and raising awareness of racial injustice in corporate America. To this end, she strongly believes that racial justice is correlated with employment rates; this belief fuels her to continue helping others to the best of her ability. In light of her incredible mission and dedication to helping others, Ms. McDonald has been bestowed with numerous accolades, as well as an honorary doctorate.
Prior to establishing The Doe Fund, Ms. McDonald was a Hollywood screenwriter. Upon meeting her husband, they collaborated to create the blossoming program that exists today. The Doe Fund initially began as the Ready, Willing & Able (RWA) program that gave opportunities to others, primarily in the form of profitable work, transitional housing and social services. To date, Ms. McDonald and her subsequent programs have reduced recidivism by 62% and continues to be acclaimed as the gold standard for social services.