In her work at FamilyForward over the past 20+ years, Donna Anderson has put her abilities as a leader to good use — facilitating change in the community and “helping where help is needed.”
Donna Anderson helps where help is needed. It’s her thing. A career in education and two decades of leadership at FamilyForward (formerly known as Faith Community Homes) provide ample evidence of her commitment to help and serve in the community. And her leadership in the Arlington Heights area continues.
Anderson earned a bachelor’s degree in Speech/Language Pathology from the University of Tulsa, Okla. She worked at the former Forest View High School in Arlington Heights and became involved in English, theater, speech team and music. Later, substitute teaching became a full-time job with District 54, focusing on the arts.
Volunteerism has always been important to Anderson, and she credits her parents, who instilled in her “a deep commitment to, and love of helping where help is needed.” During her time as a stay-at-home mom, she became especially interested in causes focused on children. She held PTA leadership positions at the local, state and national level. Currently, in addition to her ongoing commitment to FamilyForward, she serves as a trustee on the Schaumburg School District 54 Foundation Board, is the choir director at Christian Church of Arlington Heights, and is heading the restoration team evolving from the fire that extensively damaged the church in December 2020.
True to form: Helping where needed
In her work at FamilyForward throughout the past 20 years, Anderson has stayed true to form, helping where needed, holding various roles since the organization’s beginning. Initially invited to represent her church at community meetings to address affordable housing in Arlington Heights, Anderson became passionate about, and involved in, the formation and mission of this organization, whose board was established in 2003. Anderson served as the second board chair, later heading up the executive director search team, Boomers (Schaumburg, Ill., baseball) event, and golf outing. Additionally, she has served on various committees, including advocacy, fund development and the program manager search team. Her current role on the board of directors is recording secretary.
Anderson is truly one who has rarely said “no” when called on to help. Asked what gifts she brings to the FamilyForward board, she responded, “facilitating action, which often leads to leadership. As a person of faith, it is a natural gravitation to lend a hand where help is needed.”
Anderson continues to be dedicated to FamilyForward’s mission to assist and empower low-income, working families in the northwest suburbs. To anyone who might think FamilyForward expects too much of its clients, Anderson advises taking a look at the results. At least 85% of families served through FamilyForward since 2003 have experienced success, she points out. This success is due to a willingness to meet the requirements of the FamilyForward two-year intensive program and the strong desire to move forward. “What FamilyForward provides is hope for the future. Our program works!”