Donna photo

Donna at her library

Responsibilities at the Trauma Foundation

I was the Administrator at the Trauma Foundation for thirteen years (1994 - 2007), serving as a "coordinator" of staff and projects (e.g., the Violence Prevention Initiative, alcohol prevention projects, The Bell Campaign, etc.). In this role, I did a whole lot of just about everything, including handling personnel issues, writing and producing publications, preparing grant proposals, organizing retreats and conferences, facilitating communications, and working closely with Andrew and the staff. There was something new and challenging every day, and I simply loved it! I particularly enjoyed cultivating an atmosphere of respect and friendship among colleagues, while helping the Trauma Foundation and its many projects run smoothly and glitchless.

Liked most about the Trauma Foundation

I loved my job! I worked with fabulous people on projects we all hoped would improve society. At first, I didn’t know what to expect from the Trauma Foundation. I had responded to a Help Wanted ad that emphasized the prevention of gun violence. This caught my eye because from the time I was about 12 years old and had been talked into going hunting with my brother, I opposed the use of guns for killing anything. So any organization that worked to prevent gun violence couldn’t be all bad, I thought. The Trauma Foundation and my job turned out to be so multi-faceted and challenging, I couldn’t have wished for anything better. And I didn’t.

Learnings still useful

At the Trauma Foundation, we were extremely fortunate to be guided by Andrew’s visionary and caring leadership. He had the big ideas and the overall strategies, and surrounded himself with a team of strong, gifted people who could make it all happen. He gave us the freedom and encouragement to do our best, even if it meant we made some mistakes along the way. I believe this is why so many people were attracted to the Trauma Foundation and why, once hired, they didn’t leave. In addition, I honed my writing and communication skills while at the Trauma Foundation. These lessons continue to serve me well.


My passion these days is to give young children the tools they need to become good readers and independent thinkers. I do this in two elementary schools in San Francisco, tutoring reading at one school (Alice Fong Yu Alternative School) and offering critical thinking and reading centers in the other (Tenderloin Community School). My hope is that the young children I teach will develop a solid base for good decision-making as they grow into adult members of this society. It’s my own version of violence prevention advocacy.
     I’m also working with other family members on a website for elder financial abuse prevention. We’re hoping this will help other families who are experiencing the pain of having a parent suffer from elder financial abuse at the hands of a stranger. The website is the direct result of the survivor advocacy work I learned about and participated in every day I was at the Trauma Foundation.
     Finally, I’m doing some pleasure writing that includes children’s stories, poems, and “brain stretchers”; a humorous account of my husband and his best friend growing up in New York during the early 20th century; and an annotated compilation of my grandfather's World War I memoirs and poetry.


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