As a screenwriter and now as executive vice president of The Doe Fund, Harriet Karr McDonald has used her gifts of communication and compassion to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of people in need.
Together with her husband, George, Harriet Karr McDonald created, through the Doe Fund, Ready, Willing & Able (RWA), the first residential paid work and training program for homeless people.
As part of this initiative, Harriet Karr McDonald hired and trained a workforce of single homeless men to renovate an abandoned Brooklyn building for occupancy by homeless families. Recruiting men from Grand Central Terminal and nearly every shelter in New York City, she was able to provide the support needed to help these men get back on their feet.
As it developed, RWA provided comfortable, drug-free lodging, healthy meals, support groups and caseworkers, life skills classes and certified teachers to help those who needed them earn diplomas.
Harriet Karr McDonald's generosity and her passion for serving others is evident in the success of the program which has influenced the way homelessness is treated and the systematic approach to rehabilitating and reintegrating homeless people into the workforce and society. Since its creation, RWA has been a paradigm for and incarnation of the continuum of care required for the successful reduction, and eventual elimination, of homelessness.
At a time when many in society had developed "compassion fatigue" regarding the homeless, The Doe Fund and its visionary program "Ready, Willing & Able" has tapped into the industriousness and potential of its formerly homeless trainees as well as the concern and generosity of the City's citizens. In doing so, Harriet Karr McDonald has created a safer, cleaner and more vibrant community.