McDonald Brings Over 30 Years of Experience Organizing, Strategy, and Community Building around Health Care and Communities of Color
McDonald’s Innovative Leadership and Passion Comes at a Crucial Time for the Affiliate. They are also the First Black Non-binary Person to Lead the Organization.
Atlanta, Georgia — Planned Parenthood Southeast (PPSE) announced today the recent appointment of Carol McDonald (they/them) as President and CEO. Carol will serve as the first non-binary person of color to lead the historic health organization, working to expand access to sexual and reproductive health care at a time when abortion is banned across most of the South. PPSE provides services to patients in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Emory University, Carol was inspired by the 1997 March for Women’s Lives in Washington DC and joined what was then Planned Parenthood of Georgia. There, Carol helped develop the organization's first independent expenditure voter education and mobilization program and staffed the political action committee. In 2006, they joined the national staff at Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), managing electoral and issue campaigns nationwide. They would spend a decade engaging key communities around the fight for reproductive health and access to high-quality health care. In 2015, they founded Meridian Solutions, a social impact strategy firm dedicated to supporting activists and organizers.
“It is only fitting that my journey with Planned Parenthood has come full circle. I began my journey as an organizer in the South, laying a foundation for the work to come. As a proud, devoted organizer, and a queer non-binary person raised in the South, I not only plan to bring my lived experiences to the table but the lived experiences and voices of all those continuing to do the work and build this movement, ” said McDonald.
Planned Parenthood Southeast Board Chair Evelyn Reynolds and Vice-Chair Karen Doolittle had this to say about Carol joining the organization:
“We immediately knew that Carol’s passion and experience set them apart. Through their work at Planned Parenthood and as a small business owner creating innovative social impact strategies, Carol’s experience as a leader fighting for women, girls, trans folx, and gender-expansive people is exactly what PPSE and the reproductive health movement need.”
With the erosion of abortion rights and the continued attacks on birth control and sexual health, Carol will lead Planned Parenthood Southeast with a steady hand and an unwavering commitment to fight for access to reproductive health care for all.
About Carol McDonald:
Carol McDonald, MA., is a lifelong organizer passionate about uniting people around a common purpose. A queer Black bilingual non-binary person from the South, Carol, and their thirteen-year-old child reside in the Atlanta Metro area. A servant leader, Carol joined Planned Parenthood as the President and Chief Executive Officer in October 2023.
They are the proud child of an immigrant mother from Surinam. Raised in North Carolina by their mother and stepfather, a military veteran who was raised sharecropping on tobacco farms, Carol has spent the last 30 years organizing, educating, and fighting for women, girls, trans folx, and gender-expansive people.
A trained educator, Carol started their career in education research. After receiving their Master of Arts in Teaching from Emory, Carol taught middle and high school in metro Atlanta. During their time in education, their helped organize a local teacher union. Inspired by the 1997 Million Women's March on Washington, Carol joined what was then known as Planned Parenthood Georgia, where they helped develop the organization's first independent expenditure voter education and mobilization program and staffed the Political Action Committee. In 2006, they joined the national staff at Planned Parenthood for America, managing the Southern Regional Desk.
After taking a leave to manage political and surrogate relations for then-Senator Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Carol returned to Planned Parenthood for America. In 2009, they moved to Washington, DC, to join their national political office. Carol spent the next decade helping to engage key communities around the fight for reproductive health, autonomy, and access to quality health care.
In 2015, Carol left Planned Parenthood to establish Meridian Solutions, a social impact strategy firm grounded in the framework of intersectionality. Carol also served as a principal at 76 Words, a Democratic media and strategy firm that develops television, online, and digital advertising for progressive candidates, party committees, ballot initiatives, and issue advocacy organizations. In addition, they served as Senior Strategist at Mission Control,
They earned their Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Master in Teaching from Emory University. They are also a graduate of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale. Carol is a founding member of Higher Heights for America and sits on the Board of Directors of United for Respect. They are also a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc.,
The Atlanta, Georgia affiliate of Planned Parenthood began in 1964. In 1930, a Planned Parenthood affiliate was created in Birmingham, Alabama, the oldest in the Southeast. Services were added in Mississippi in 1989 and all three states joined forces in 2010 under the name Planned Parenthood Southeast.
Planned Parenthood's mission is to provide voluntary family planning services and education that enhance personal and social understanding of human sexuality. We advocate public policies that guarantee reproductive rights and access to health care. And, we support and encourage advances in reproductive technology.
To learn more about Planned Parenthood Southeast, its health centers, and the services we provide please visit, PPSE.org.