Dona Ponepinto is a change agent. With her steadfast and thoughtful nature, she has broken down barriers in communities surrounding her, both in her career and volunteer service. For more than three decades, Dona has worked for United Way—currently as President and CEO of United Way of Pierce County—and the Junior League—where she is a Sustainer and a member of the Junior League of Tacoma (JLT) Sustainer Council— to harness the collective power of people for social change.
Before she joined JLT, Dona was a member of the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB) and the Junior League of Detroit (JLD). Her expertise in nonprofit management, strategic planning, and community development informed her leadership as President of each League, as well as Chair of Membership Outreach, Chair of Project Research, Chair of Community Assistance Grants, and Chair of Long Range Planning.
Training has been an important element of all the Junior Leagues in which Dona has been involved. In her current role as member of JLT’s Sustainer Council, Dona is Chair of the Training Team, finding opportunities to incorporate trainings into general membership meetings even through the pandemic. She has also served on The Association for Junior Leagues International (AJLI) Board and Governance Committee as Chair, Vice Chair, and At-Large Director. As an At-Large Director, she strategized to strengthen the relationship between the Leagues and Board and contributed to the creation of AJLI’s diversity and inclusion statement, among other projects.
Dona’s wealth of volunteer experience extends beyond the Junior League. She is Secretary of the board for the Pierce County AIDS Foundation and a member of the Tacoma Community College Board of Trustees, appointed by Governor Jay Inslee. Inslee also appointed Dona to the Governor’s Poverty Reduction Work Group, a two-year enterprise that resulted in a 10-year plan to reduce poverty and inequality in Washington State.
Evident in Dona’s career with four different United Ways is her talent for bringing people together to change community conditions for the common good. For all four, she took charge in redesigning how to invest funds in the community. Most recently, she brought a national wealth building model to Pierce County focused on helping more families become financially stable. It has raised over $2.6 million.
Dona holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Science in Counseling, both from Creighton University.