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People - The Doe Fund
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The Doe Fund
George and Harriet McDonald
Ready, Willing & Able Founders, George T. McDonald and Harriet Karr-McDonald

When Harriet Karr boarded a plane from Los Angeles to New York City more than 30 years ago, she was overcome by profound loss. The Hollywood screenwriter had just learned of the suicide of April Savino, a 19-year-old homeless girl she had shadowed in Grand Central Terminal for a screenplay. Harriet had traveled to New York to capture the dreams of this girl, who struggled with addiction and poverty. Now, she was returning to say her goodbyes.

 

While Harriet was on the plane, George McDonald sat in his tiny Single Room Occupancy unit, preparing April’s eulogy. Speaking on behalf of homeless people was a duty he met with increasing frequency in the late 1980s. And while the people George served sandwiches to in Grand Central Terminal for 700 consecutive nights appreciated the food, what they told him they really needed was a room and a job to pay for it.

 

That Christmas morning, George experienced another tragic loss: the death of a homeless woman he befriended—known only as “Mama” by those living in Grand Central Terminal—of pneumonia after being evicted by transit police into freezing temperatures the night before. George realized that merely providing clothing and food would never create real change.

 

It was in Mama’s memory that George founded The Doe Fund, named for the pseudonym authorities used on her death certificate. 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. Together, they created Ready, Willing & Able to help people experiencing homelessness rebuild their lives.

 

Ready, Willing & Able quickly proved equally effective in transitioning formerly incarcerated men into mainstream society. Today, over 30 years after its founding, Ready, Willing & Able has helped more than 29,000 individuals transform their lives. Though George McDonald passed away in early 2021, The Doe Fund is committed to continuing his vision for generations to come. 

Executive Staff

Robert Cornegy, Jr.
Executive Vice President

Robert’s longtime partnership with The Doe Fund began when he opened an addiction treatment facility in his Bedford-Stuyvesant community using drug testing equipment from our Gates Avenue transitional residence. Robert then served as a City Council Member for NYC’s 36th District from 2014-2022. As one of the Council’s most prolific legislators, he left a legacy of initiatives that advance racial and economic justice and improve the lives of vulnerable New Yorkers. This includes the Kalief Browder Bill, which makes it mandatory for the Department of Corrections to provide mental health, educational, and vocational services to detainees before they are sentenced.

In his role as EVP, Robert identifies and secures funds and political capital to execute our mission and key strategic objectives. He introduces key stakeholders in government and the private sectors to our work and goals. An expert in small business development, Robert also advances the organization’s social enterprises and explores innovative new avenues.


John McDonald*
Executive Vice President

A seasoned corporate leader with expertise in financial analysis, management, and real estate development, John oversees The Doe Fund’s growing portfolio of transitional, affordable, and supportive housing—most of which he himself developed—as well as their operations, financing ,and partnerships with City, State, and private entities. 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


Christian Diez
Chief Financial Officer, Two Sigma Private Investments


Frank Gribbon
Former Deputy Commissioner, Communications, FDNY


Melique Jones
Director of Talent Pipeline and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP


Sunil Kapadia
Director, Strategy and Operations, Google


Steve Koppel (Chairman of the Board)
Attorney (Partner), Sidley Austin LLP


Harriet Karr-McDonald (President)
President, The Doe Fund 


Rob Morse
Head of Data Strategy and Sourcing, PDT Partners


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


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 


Jesse T. Wilkins

Attorney (Partner), Preston and Wilkins, LLC

 

Giving today means a better future tomorrow for

the Men in Blue.