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Kathleen McDonald. Photo by Nick Friedman.
Siesta Key Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 4 years ago

The Good News: Kathleen McDonald

by: Nick Friedman Managing Editor of Arts and Culture

Throughout the years, one Bible verse in particular has stood out to Kathleen McDonald. It says, “To whom much has been given, much is expected.”

“My husband, Jim, and I really feel that way,” she says. “When you have extra, you have to give it away. You just have to.”

Much of McDonald’s life has been driven by this mentality: In addition to being an artist and a longtime supporter of the fine arts, the Pennsylvania native has also run an adoption agency and adopted and raised 11 children from all over the world. Her experience in this line of work, as well as her own experiences with adoption, has strengthened what she describes as her lifelong spirit of giving. She says her desire to give back is inspired by the gratitude she has for her own financial security.

“My life has been terribly difficult in many ways,” says McDonald. “But, I’ve never wondered where my next meal is coming from. I’ve never had to make the choice between feeding my children and heating my home. So many people do have to make those decisions.”

When she moved in 1997 to Sarasota, she admits she was surprised to find a thriving cultural community in Florida. She became heavily involved in the local visual-arts scene and served for four years as president of Art Center Sarasota before shifting her focus to Venice, where she currently lives.

During this time, she was introduced to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation through a friend, and she says she enjoyed the chance to expand upon her giving nature. Now, in addition to supporting the local arts, she was exposed to greater opportunities to benefit humanitarian and children’s causes through smaller projects, and she says she’s enjoyed the sense of community it builds.

“Somebody could easily write a check for whatever project needs funding,” says McDonald. “But, when I give a little; my neighbor gives a little; someone else gives a little; and, then, I put that project on Facebook, because it’s important to me, and I see one of my friends supports it as well; there’s a feeling that we’re all in this together. That’s what I love.”




11 — Number of children McDonald has adopted
16 — Number of years McDonald has lived in Sarasota


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