“If you can’t provide in a holistic manner, then we’re kind of doing a disservice to improve their quality of life.”
Natalie Donnally grew up in Bexley before moving to the Forest Park neighborhood. Natalie’s work and connections to the Columbus community impact all, especially women. In her career and volunteer work, she serves the Columbus community in many capacities. She co-leads and manages the Center for Cancer Health Equity at the Ohio State James Cancer Hospital, and also leads the Columbus Shelter Board COVID shelter for isolation and quarantine. She describes her responsibility at the James as “engaging in the community, bringing access out into the community, meeting the needs of constituents and patients, making sure that they have access to preventative health, social services grant funding for the uninsured, making sure that their services are covered.” Additional services include “health and wellness screening events, bringing out our mammogram, mobiles, our community coach. We're in the works of creating a lung cancer, CAT scan mobile, so we'll be able to do lung cancer screening.” Health equity extends beyond medicine and screening, looking more holistically at the issues an individual may have. “We bring our OSU culinary mobile out, so Jim and Katie do nutritional food demos, making sure that we're incorporating the healthy aspects of lifestyle, which includes nutrition, and we create those events with community partners, government, and faith leaders.”
Outside of the James, Natalie serves as Chair for In Christy’s Shoes. “We’re a nonprofit that focuses on a mission to empower women from the sole up. Our goal is to raise funding so that we can give $150,000 a year to 10 community partners to continue having the resources to better serve these women.” The organization’s annual fundraising runway show is sponsored by DSW and other partners and is a fun celebration to tackle issues facing women in the community. “Our goal every year is that our community partners, who have the same mission, to empower women who've been affected by unemployment, substance abuse, domestic abuse, cancer, human trafficking, that they're able to apply to our programs".
Natalie also serves as an advisory board member and chair as well, for “Dress for Success” and “She Has A Name”. Her work includes bringing her network of partners to increase the availability of resources to these women. Additionally, she serves as board secretary for the James Walter Mitchell Community Development Corporation, which is out of the City of Zion Church. Through programming and resources, the goal is to empower people, create economic stability, and education stability. The organization also looks “to create a space for them to have better education and decrease the disparity in social determinants.”
“I serve the whole city in different capacities— that is who I am, it's really important to me. Obviously, we serve the most high-risk areas. So that's going to be Franklinton, Hilltop, the Near East Side, Linden. But I feel in the different roles that I am in; I serve the city as a whole.” In her work, she recognizes that holistic health is critical. “I'm bringing everything in social services, nutrition services, rehabilitation, health services, insurance. Because again, you can't provide in a holistic manner, they were kind of doing a disservice to improve their quality of life”. In improving the quality of life, Natalie loves to see how her community is growing. “My favorite part of Columbus is the feeling like we're always evolving. We're a great city with a multitude of different organizations, from community partners, government, faith leaders. As we have continued to go through different tragedies and pandemics and systemic racism, I feel like we're always evolving in some level of growth.”