Donna Wilkinson’s passion for youth and education led her to a decade of volunteering for the Boys & Girls Club, where she helped raise $6.9 million as board chair, doubled the size of the cafeteria and built the first new Club in Indianapolis in 23 years!
“There are so many in need in our community. It’s meaningful to see how what we do impacts the kids. We built a new club and now kids have a caring, safe environment,” said Wilkinson.
Wilkinson grew up in Pennsylvania with a father who was very involved locally. But it was the spirit of community in Central Indiana that motivated her to get involved. “I’ve lived in seven states, and this place is different. People cared for each other in a way that was more than just cursory. They go out of their way to use their resources and connections to make a difference,” she explained.
Wilkinson points to the support of her employer, Indiana Pacers, and the opportunity to participate in the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership (SKL) program as pivotal in allowing her to make a difference. “The SKL class was an awesome opportunity to connect with really passionate people and to learn from people who understand how the city works. Now I have a great network to tap into,” Wilkinson said.
She stays motivated by seeing the results. “It’s hearing the stories of the people you’ve affected and how they’ve been transformed because you helped in some small way.” Although Wilkinson has helped the Boys & Girls Club make great strides, she knows there is still much to accomplish in the future. “We can’t just say we’ve had past success and stop working; needs change, times change, people change. We need to develop future leaders and continue the legacy and see how we can continue to evolve to help more people, reach more people and get more people involved.”
Her hope for the future is a community in which “no child is hungry and each person has the opportunity to reach their full potential.” She believes that there is strength in having a vision and hope to do great things. “There’s a lot of power in community. It’s life-changing, and that’s what drives me.”