Brenda Donald ‘93 Named Distinguished Alumna

Brenda Donald

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 30, 2012) – Brenda Donald, a former Little Rock assistant city manager and now the director of the District of Columbia’s Child and Family Services, will be honored Thursday, May 10, as UALR’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor bestowed by the UALR Alumni Association.

Donald, a graduate of UALR’s Master of Public Administration program in 1993, will be the guest of honor at the annual alumni awards luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 10th at the Clinton Presidential Library’s Grand Hall. Members of the association interested in attending can call Alumni Director Christian O’Neal at 501-569-3142.

“Brenda has an impressive portfolio of civic, social, and professional accomplishments which make her ideal for becoming a member of the UALR Alumni Hall of Fame,” O’Neal said.

The UALR Alumni Association has been presenting the awards since 1952 to the most prestigious graduates of UALR for their professional achievements, contributions to society and support of the university. The annual awards luncheon is sponsored by the UALR Alumni Association and the UALR Foundation Fund Board.

Donald has over 25 years of senior management experience in the public and non-profit sectors. Before rejoining CFSA, she was vice president of the Center for Effective Family Services and Systems at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation’s largest organization solely dedicated to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families. In that role, she oversaw programs that promoted improvements in public systems such as child welfare and juvenile justice with a focus on expanding evidence-based best practices.

As secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources from 2007 to 2010, Donald was responsible for designing and implementing two major systems reform agendas: Place Matters, a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s child welfare system, and MD RISE, a workforce development initiative for welfare and child support customers. In 2010, the Maryland Daily Record named Donald one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women.

Before joining CFSA in 2001, Donald served for five years as vice president for Municipal Programs at DC Agenda, a nonprofit organization that supports community building and government reform efforts in DC. Major accomplishments included developing the first DC Citizen’s Scorecard and creating the Cafritz Awards for Distinguished District Government Employees. During a decade in Little Rock, AR, she was promoted from chief of staff for the City Manager to assistant city manager.  She completed training for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. In 1995, she was selected as a fellow in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Children and Family Fellowship Program.

Donald grew up in District Ward 8. She holds a BA in Journalism with honors from George Washington University and an MPA from the University of Arkansas.

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