This article appeared in The Boca Raton Observer on October 28, 2022.
Danita R. DeHaney is more than just an advocate for communities — she’s the leader of a vast and innovative philanthropic organization.
Serving Palm Beach and Martin Counties, the Community Foundation (CF), which welcomed DeHaney as president and CEO in March 2021, leads partnerships between donors and nonprofits that strengthen communities.
“Through comprehensive grantmaking and scholarship programs, the CF’s donors have been uplifting our area’s people and programs across a broad range of issues for 50 years,” she says.
Before DeHaney took the helm at the CF, she’d been building a career centered around helping those in need. Originally from Maryland, she spent 25 years raising funds for university-level scholarships, research and facilities. While steadily building expertise in leadership, strategic planning and fundraising, her current role converges those skills for the greater good.
“While we have a great deal of wealth in our counties, the poverty gap is still very sobering. I’ve seen families who are underserved and underrepresented struggle to make ends meet, children who don’t know how to navigate life’s disruptions, or students who are talented but don’t have the means to grow their abilities,” she says. “But philanthropy has the power to transform their lives and uplift our entire area.”
Because of this, her work focuses on guiding donors to projects in areas that, not only align with their interests, but “sustain their capacity to do changemaking work while supporting fully vetted organizations,” DeHaney says.
She’s already made traction on a pressing need within her first year by bringing mental health services to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County through the Rebound and Recovery Program at Florida State University’s College of Social Work.
DeHaney encourages all donors to treat their philanthropy as a strategic endeavor and allow the CF to guide them with the rest.
“It’s simple: We move with the intent to improve the lives of all local residents alongside the nonprofits on the frontlines, and we do it through philanthropy that allows us to make a difference now and in perpetuity,” she says.