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Spotlight on Philanthropy: Because I CARE

Colleen Donaldson has been an active volunteer with Planned Parenthood for over 40 years. She firmly believes that as human beings we have an essential right to control our own fertility.  Colleen grew up in Rochester and counts herself fortunate as she was able to get family planning health care services at her local Planned Parenthood while a college student in the 1970s.

Access to family planning services is personal to Colleen. Colleen’s grandmother raised seven young children alone after her husband passed away. Colleen’s great-grandmother was also a single parent to 11 children—long before social support services were available. Colleen knows the matriarchs in her family would have been grateful for the birth control options that are available today.

Colleen’s volunteer service with Planned Parenthood began while she was a graduate intern—due to her experiences as a patient, Colleen knew she wanted to support the compassionate and dedicated staff. Like staff, volunteers go through extensive training, “I learned so much from staff, it was just a joy to work with everyone.” In addition to assisting with fundraising at her local Planned Parenthood, Colleen was also involved in her local Speaker’s Bureau where one member also served on the board of PPCWNY and invited Colleen to join the board. “Serving on the board was a wonderful learning experience as a young person.” It wasn’t long before Colleen lead the board as Chair. Over the years, Colleen has served eight terms on the board of PPCWNY and remains an active volunteer today as the Chair of Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York’s monthly giving society, Because I CARE.

Giving monthly began out of practicality for Colleen, it was a budget friendly way for her to make a larger gift and have greater impact. Through her volunteer service Colleen saw firsthand the need for ongoing support. Monthly donors in Because I CARE help PPCWNY through their steady support—allowing the agency to budget effectively.

In addition to being an advocate for Planned Parenthood for many years, Colleen is also passionate about voting rights. Since most of her volunteer service at PPCWNY has been focused on public affairs, Colleen has seen how changes in administrations affect access to funding. “If we don’t have the federal, state, and local support, we cannot accomplish our goals or our mission. Vote for the candidates who support the issues you care about!”