Knowing Newton: The Non-profit Journey of Donna Newton

When Your Outcomes Well met with Donna Newton, we knew she was a leader in the Greensboro area’s Non-Profit community.  While some who are called leaders are really glorified managers, Donna isn’t one of them!  She’s a true leader.  In this new Series, we’ll share the hardworking, humble woman’s thoughtful insights into a wide range of important issues facing most Professionals and Executive Directors in the Non-profit sector.

  • Today’s post, the first in this Series, aims to help you understand the community-critical work Donna Newton has done tirelessly in Central NC since 2002.  Doing “meaningful” work, and successfully motivating people, is at the core of what this wise leader does.  She entered the Non-profit arena 15 years ago, after working thirty years in the corporate world.  


Donna Newton

  • When asked what was the catalyst of her embarking on a career in the Non-profit world, after a long corporate career, Newton said:

Once I experienced non-profit work, it gave me a feeling like no other I’d ever had. A feeling that I was doing something meaningful. A feeling that people appreciated what I was doing. It also gave me relationships I’d never dreamed of having.”

  • When asked how she’d like to be remembered, what she’d like her legacy to be, Newton said: “That I worked hard to do good things for others in my life”.


  • Asked to describe what she does well, her widely-sought capabilities as a non-profit professional for those, Newton said:

I’m a generalist. I don’t claim expertise in anything. What I know how to do is organize and motivate people to do more than they ever thought they could do.”

  • When asked to describe a typical day in her life, the building blocks of Donna Newton’s award-winning non-profit work in the Greensboro NC area were revealed. Why she has succeeded for fifteen years in the non-profit world became far more apparent.

I’m either working at my computer or in meetings and meetings and meetings and meetings, because my job is to bring people together to solve problems . . . I have to attend events too, because there’s nothing like the power of presence” Newton noted.


The Community Foundation

Newton transitioned to the director of the new Workforce Initiative for the Community Foundation, in February 2014. The goal of the initiative, according to the press release that announced her taking the position: “To build a seamless system of enhancing and connecting talent to workforce opportunities”.

I was delighted to have this opportunity to build a collaborative effort around workforce development to achieve long-term economic success,” Newton said when becoming Director of the foundation’s new initiative. “It is exciting to consider the possibilities of leveraging flexible resources to support the good work that is going on.”

We are excited to have Donna on board and in place to transition to this new role,” said Walker Sanders, president of The Community Foundation. “Her skills and experience in building networks and collaboratives are a perfect match for establishing this new project.”

Donna is currently in the midst of transitioning again, currently straddling two Community foundation initiatives: Workforce and Affordable Housing.  Donna took on the Director of the Affordable Housing Task Force in January 2017. The purpose of the Housing Our Community Task Force: To develop a plan to present to the community for all residents of Greensboro to have access to affordable housing.

Drawing from the well of wisdom of this seasoned Non-profit leader, this Series will explore strategies which will position you to avoid mediocre, growth-inhibiting outcomes.  Achieving better outcomes comes from getting savvy insights from proven thought leaders – like Donna Newton. 

  • As we spoke with her, 4 words she said hit us like a brick: The power of presence.  That will be the topic of the next post in this Your Outcomes Well series.  
  • Today’s post, and the biographical profile below, will hopefully give you a solid sense of the Director of the Workforce Initiative at the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Donna Newton.

Biographical Profile of Donna Newton

Donna Newton is the Director of the Workforce Initiative at the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. Previous local roles included the Director of the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium, Building Stronger Neighborhoods Liaison, Advisor to the Greensboro Neighborhood Congress, and Senior Vice President with Jefferson-Pilot Life Insurance Company.

Donna is an honors graduate and a past Distinguished Alumnus of Guilford College.  She worked as medical insurance executive for more than 30 years and left that industry as a Senior Vice President with a national firm that was headquartered in Greensboro.  She has been involved in her second career with nonprofits for 15 years.  During this time, Newton has been a broker of networking and a technical resource for local nonprofit organizations, neighborhood leaders, educational institutions, government entities, and faith organizations.

Donna also serves or has served on a number of nonprofit and government boards and committees, including Chair of the Board for The Evergreens Senior Care System, Chair of the Board for The Evergreens Foundation; Chair of the Partners Ending Homelessness Board; Chair of the Neighborhoods’ Committee for the Greensboro Bicentennial Commission; Chair of the Outreach Committee for the Performing Arts Center Task Force; member of several Advisory Boards; and member of numerous and varied ordinance committees for the City of Greensboro.

Donna has been recognized by the Triad Business Journal with the Women in Business award. She was also honored the 2009 Athena Award, presented by the Greensboro Partnership, primarily for her board role with the Evergreens Senior Care System, where she led the restructuring that brought 3 new state of the art skilled nursing facilities and a $30 million investment to Guilford County (NC). She has been recognized in the Greensboro News and Record as a Community Role Model and featured in the newspaper with regard to what she would hope to be “The Next Big Thing” for Greensboro.  Donna was selected by Guilford College as the 2011 recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, for her distinguished and meaningful service to the Piedmont Triad Community.  Most recently, Donna was awarded the American Heart Association’s inaugural Heart of the Community Award.

One Comment

  1. Robin Morgan said:

    What a great article. Donna is the driving force among the success of many non profits in the Greensboro area. I am so fortunate to have her available for advice and guidance. Looking forward to the remaining pieces in the series.

    April 26, 2017

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