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People - The Doe Fund
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The Doe Fund
George and Harriet McDonald
Founders, George T. McDonald and Harriet Karr-McDonald

When Harriet Karr boarded a plane from Los Angeles to New York City more than 25 years ago, she was overcome by a profound feeling of loss. The successful Hollywood actress and screenwriter had just learned of the suicide of April Savino, a 19-year old homeless girl she had shadowed in Grand Central Terminal and on the streets of New York City for a new screenplay. Harriet had first traveled to New York to capture the dreams of this girl who struggled with addiction and street life. Now she was returning to New York to say her goodbyes.

 

While Harriet was on board the plane, George McDonald was sitting in his tiny Single Room Occupancy unit working on April’s eulogy, with each word becoming more and more re-energized for what became his daily fight. Speaking on behalf of homeless people was an honor he had come to know with increasing frequency in the late 1980s. And the people George served sandwiches to in Grand Central Terminal were preparing to rise up with him. They appreciated the food, but what they really needed was a room and a job to pay for it.

 

They had dreams beyond the Terminal. George not only listened, he believed. George first stepped up to the challenge when he experienced another tragic loss: the death of a woman known only as “Mama” by those living in Grand Central. She died of pneumonia on Christmas morning after being evicted by transit police into freezing temperatures the night before. George realized that no provision he could make—be it clothing or food—would create real change.

 

It was in Mama’s memory that George founded The Doe Fund. But it was April’s story that brought George and Harriet together for a lifetime of service. Harriet was moved by the passion of George’s eulogy for April, and six months later, they married and began to work together to help homeless people rebuild lives. They also resolved to make New York City understand that homelessness could be overcome. She now poured her passion into proposals and letters instead of screenplays. She developed services and programs instead of plot lines. And together, George and Harriet created their most compelling work: Ready, Willing & Able. 

 

Designed to provide economic opportunity to homeless men, Ready, Willing & Able quickly proved equally effective in transitioning formerly incarcerated men into mainstream society. Today, 30 years after its founding, Ready, Willing & Able has helped more than 23,000 men transform their lives.

Executive Staff

John McDonald*
Executive Vice President, Real Estate Operations

As EVP of Real Estate Operations, John oversees the organization’s broad portfolio of properties and their operations,  including more than 1,000 units of permanent and supportive housing, most of which he himself developed. In his prior role as Chief Financial Officer, John managed The Doe Fund’s finances through a period of exponential growth over the course of twenty years. Prior to joining The Doe Fund, John held positions at Salomon Brothers and Bell Atlantic Corporation. He holds a degree in Financial Management from the University of North Carolina.


Anthony Mangione*
Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer at The Doe Fund, Anthony helps develop and implement cost-effective, holistic programs that meet the needs of a diverse population working to break the cycles of homelessness, addiction, and criminal recidivism. In addition, he helps in developing supportive housing, using innovative financing strategies and historic restoration to revitalize buildings and neighborhoods while increasing the supply of affordable housing for people with the greatest economic need. Prior to that, Anthony honed his professional audit, accounting and consulting experience working with higher education institutions, large national and international organizations, religious organizations, social services agencies, foundations, cultural institutions and professional associations.


Felipe Vargas
Vice President of Programs

As Vice President of Programs for the organization, Felipe directly oversees all aspects of the Ready, Willing & Able transitional work program across three New York City facilities as well as the services provided to clients in the The Doe Fund’s portfolio of supportive housing developments. He previously served as the Director of Criminal Justice Programs and Project Director of CUNY’s Next Steps Program, building on years of direct service experience with incarcerated men and women. Felipe has led many program initiatives and innovations at The Doe Fund, including most recently the introduction of onsite parole services and special programming for homeless men under community supervision at the Peter Jay Sharp Center for Opportunity.


* indicates an Officer of the Corporation

Board of Directors

Nadia Block
Manager, Block Family Foundation


Frank Gribbon
Former Deputy Commissioner, Communications, FDNY


Sunil Kapadia
SVP Strategic Solutions, Dentsu Aegis Network


Steve Koppel
Attorney (Partner), Sidley Austin LLP


Andre Robert Lee
Director & Producer 


Rachel Licht (Treasurer)
Vice President, Operational Risk Business Manager (Global Lead), JPMorgan Chase


George McDonald (President)
Founder, The Doe Fund 


Julian Riley, Jr.
Founder & CEO, Harlem Blue Premium Beer 


Lisa Schultz
Former EVP, Design, Sears Holding Corporation


David Shapiro
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, KPS Capital Partners


Bill Thompson
Senior Managing Director and Chief Administrative Officer, Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., LLC
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, The City University of New York
Former Comptroller of New York City 

 

Giving today means a better future tomorrow for

the Men in Blue.