Through the creation of The Doe Fund, George T. McDonald has developed a sustainable model to combat homelessness, improving the lives of thousands in New York City.
A private sector executive during the peak of New York City's homeless crisis in the early 1990s, George McDonald ran the New York City volunteer office for Ted Kennedy's presidential campaign and later ran for Congress on a platform of ending homelessness.
So immersed did he eventually become in the plight of the homeless that he decided to leave his lucrative career and devote himself full-time to finding lasting solutions to the problem of homelessness. After spending 700 consecutive nights in and around Grand central Terminal where he distributed sandwiches and listened to the stories of homeless men and women, George McDonald took his uncompromising urge to serve to the next level.
What started as raising money to provide cash assistance for homeless individuals grew to the development of The Doe Fund, an organization that empowers homeless men and women to achieve lives of self-sufficiency through, among other means, a residential paid work and training program called Ready, Willing & Able (RWA). Dressed in blue uniforms and referred to as "the men in blue," RWA participants are paid an hourly wage for providing valuable community services, whether that's cleaning more than 150 miles of New York City streets each day, or collecting used cooking oil for conversion into biodiesel. Through The Doe Fund and RWA, nearly 4,000 homeless and formerly incarcerated men and women have journeyed to independence and become productive members of society. Countless others have been inspired by these journeys to become involved in helping the "men in blue" achieve their goals.
Through The Doe fund, George McDonald, along with his wife Harriet, has redefined our concept of homelessness and created avenues through which individuals can reclaim lives of dignity and purpose.