“As [Columbus has] continued to go through different tragedies and pandemics and systemic racism, I feel like we're always evolving in some level of growth.”
“Unless Life Is Lived for Others It Is Not Worth Living”
Mother Tressa quoted by Natalie Donnally.
Natalie Donnally grew up in Bexley and then transitioned to Forest Park. In the present, Natalie’s work and connections to the Columbus community touches all, but especially women. In her career and free times she serves the Columbus community in many capacities. She serves as a co-lead and co-manager at the Center for Cancer Health Equity at the Ohio State James Cancer Center. As well as a lead for at the Columbus Shelter Board COVID shelter for isolation and quarantine. She details her responsibilities and service as such, “Our division is responsible for 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. We create 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. 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, Donnally contributes to the community in many ways. One commitment she describes is In Christy's Shoes. “I serve as Chair for In Christy’s Shoes. We’re a non profit 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. We have a fundraising celebration runway show every year. It is done in a fun atmosphere with DSW being our leading sponsor. We have over 750 attendees. 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 and 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. The goal of the organization is to provide programming and resources to be a staple in the community, to empower people, create economic stability, education, stability, to create a space for them to have better education and kind of really decrease the disparity in social determinants.
Describing the community she serves, this is what Natalie says, “ 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, those are the areas that we focus on the most. But I feel in the different roles that I am in, I serve the city as a whole. That's also part of my purpose is making sure that I'm reaching the constituents in a holistic manner. So 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 in these regions, Natalie also 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. So that, I think in the artistic aspect of Columbus, I think, is one of my favorite parts as well”.