Saturday, May 3, 2014

Urban Republican of the Month - George McDonald

George McDonald, is the founder of The Doe Fund, a nonprofit organization in the United States that provides paid transitional work, housing, educational opportunities, counseling, and career training to people with histories of homelessness, incarceration, and substance abuse. Graduates of The Doe Fund’s flagship Ready, Willing & Able "work first" program secure permanent housing and employment and become taxpaying members of their communities, fulfilling the group’s mission to break the cycles of homelessness, addiction and criminal recidivism.

George McDonald, founder of The Doe Fund, was working as a garment industry executive when he became conscious of New York’s growing homeless population. He was motivated to do something about it by the teachings of his Catholic school education stressing the importance of community service and supporting those who are less fortunate.

In 1985, a homeless woman known only as "Mama"—whom George McDonald had fed and befriended—died of exposure, the result of spending the night on a concrete sidewalk after being ejected from Grand Central Terminal on Christmas Eve by Metro-North police, despite her pneumonia and the freezing temperatures outside. The incident drove George McDonald to redirect his executive career to focus on providing the homeless with a way off the streets. He created the organization he called The Doe Fund in honor of “Mama Doe.”

The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research awarded the William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship to George McDonald in 2008 for his work-based programs to reduce homelessness and criminal recidivism. The institute credited George McDonald with “changing the way the problem of homelessness is understood, going far beyond the provision of shelter to help former street people and prisoners regain their self-respect and become productive citizens.

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