Black History Month February 2022: Donald Whitehead, Jr.

We are highlighting examples of Black excellence every day this February….and beyond! Feel free to send us suggestions!

Donald is a founding member of Racial Equity Partners and a person in long term recovery. What that means is that he has been completely free from the use of all substances for over 22 years. Due to the disease of addiction he found himself trapped in the terrible realities of homelessness. In 1995, he completed a six-month treatment program. Since that time Whitehead has become one of the country’s leading advocates for recovery and homelessness. 

In addition to his work as a Founding Member of Racial Equity Partners, Donald is Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, and previously served as Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, Assistant Director at St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, Program Director at Ohio Valley Goodwill, Grant Manager at Goodwill of Greater Washington and Director of Communications at Greenpeace Ohio. Donald served two terms as President of the board and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Coalition for the Homeless, two terms on the Board of Directors for Faces and Voices of Recovery and two terms on the Georgetown Center for Cultural Competency.

Donald served two terms on the state Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio, State of Maryland Drug and Alcohol Policy Council, Baltimore Ten Year Planning Committee to End Homelessness, and the Cincinnati Continuum of Care Board. Donald was one of only 100 advocates nationally to be invited to the first National Symposium on Homeless Research. Donald testified before committees in the 107th and 108th Congress, and, along with members of the staff of the offices of Representatives John Conyers, Julie Carson, Barbara Lee and the staff of the National Coalition, directed the creation of the “Bringing America Home Act,” the most comprehensive legislation to date to address homelessness in America. Donald has served on advisory committees for Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush II and Obama. In 2005, He received a distinguished service award for his work on homelessness from the Congressional Black Caucus and an award of Special Recognition from Congress in 2008. In 2011, Donald completed the prestigious American Express Leadership Academy.

The book Most Unlikely to Succeed chronicles Donald’s journey from the streets of Cincinnati to speaking before Congress, speaking at the United Nations and dinners with the former President. Donald is based in Laurel, MD.