As an engineering student at Western Michigan University, in 1979 Ken Donaldson, secured a summer job working at the Detroit Black United Fund. He has been there ever since. All throughout the rest of his college, he maintained contact and continued to work.
The Detroit Black United Fund has now grown into the Black United Fund of Michigan. This organization secures and support community based non-profits that focus on education, community development, cultural enrichment and economic development in Michigan's diverse communities. It secures its funding from payroll deductions and other sources that allow it to fund other agencies. It has been in existence for more than 40 years.
So what makes and engineering student go from engineering to working with an organization that raises money for community development projects?
Ken states, "I quickly realized that my calling was community service, not building bridges and office towers." He furthers states that it gives you a great inner glow to reach out and touch individuals and organizations that are attempting to change the quality of life in the neighborhoods where they reside.
For being able to positively impact the lives of people is a blessing and responsibility to those who are able to do so.
Through Ken's leadership BUF of Michigan reaches out and helps hundreds and hundreds of organizations. Some folks will say I did not know this organization exists.
Ken's response is "Yes you do, you know of the Charles Wright African American Museum, well we were one of the first funders when it was a little office over there on the boulevard. You've heard of DAPCEP, who trains and positions inner city youth to pursue math and engineering careers. We help them get started." He further states that you might not see BUF directly, but you see the impact that it is making through the organizations it funds.
Ken, who has been married to his wife Joyce for 19 years and has 3 children, says he understands and accepts the daily pressures of raising funds. When the economy goes south, so does his contributions. So you have to be innovated and can't get discouraged, because others are depending on you.
Ken Donaldson is an Everyday Hero: Making a Difference.
On a daily basis in spite of ones life's struggles and challenges, there are some people who reach out an make a positive impact on the lives of others.
That is why Local 4 and a prominent local clergyman, Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. have teamed up to find those people and tell their stories.
Do you know an everyday hero in your life? E-mail us and tell us about them.
About Rev. Lonnie Peek, Jr.
Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. located in Detroit in 1975. After teaching 2 years in DPS, he went to WSU receiving a Masters of Social Work, an activist on campus he created the Association of Black Students. He is an entrepreneur and serves on such civic boards as New Detroit, Inc, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. With extensive radio background expanding 25 years, he writes a weekly column for the Michigan Chronicle. He has been a regular on local/ national television shows dealing with political and social issues An ordained minister and seminary graduate, he serves on the executive committee and is the public relations chairman for the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity and is Assistant Pastor at Greater Christ Baptist Church.