We Back Pat Q&A: Danielle Donehew > SEC > NEWS
  • JOIN THE SECNATION   Register / Login

    We Back Pat Q&A: Danielle Donehew

    By: Sean Cartell
    SEC Digital Network

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southeastern Conference in cooperation with its 12-member institutions has organized the “We Back Pat” Week, a week-long initiative focused on bringing awareness and recognition to the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and its fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

    In this SEC Digital Network Q&A, we caught up with Danielle Donehew, a representative of the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund to discuss the goals and initiatives of the foundation.

    SEC Digital Network: What were your thoughts when Pat asked you to head up her foundation and what excited you about that opportunity?

    Danielle Donehew: “I am very excited to make Pat’s vision a reality.  I believe in Pat as a person and I am honored to work with her blessing in building The Pat Summitt Foundation Fund into a powerful force battling Alzheimer’s disease.  I worked for Pat for seven years and am blessed to call her my friend.  Over the years, Pat and I have talked numerous times about my interest in non-profit work and the abilities of non-profit foundations to make a difference for their causes. Pat encouraged me over the years to stay true to my dream and that when the right opportunity presented itself, I would know.  She and I talked about me starting a foundation focused on the aging population, most intensely after my grandmother's passing a number of years ago.  Amazing that my wish to serve others in the non-profit realm, would intersect with Pat and her current challenge.  When she asked for my service, we both knew the answer and were glad that the solution was there in each other.”

    SEC Digital Network: What are your long-term and short-term goals with the foundation?

    Danielle Donehew: “Short-term - We are working to build awareness, both about Alzheimer's and about Pat starting her Foundation Fund to fight in a public way. Long-term - We are working to find our niche.  Pat wants to make a difference in this fight and bring her best to the table.  Her vision (and mine) is to be authentic to who she is and who she has always been.  Pat has always surrounded herself with talented people.  Her Foundation Fund is no different.  We are building a talented team with the goal of helping find a cure.”

    SEC Digital Network: What are your plans for getting the word out about the foundation? What events do you expect to put on in conjunction with the foundation?

    Danielle Donehew: “We are just getting started and are excited to consider multiple strategies when considering events to help the cause.  I would imagine we will build a few annual events where the local community is committed to Pat’s efforts.  I would hope that we will be able to craft the majority of our events to be a win/win for all involved (give back to the host community while propelling our need to build awareness and fundraising to invest on the front lines of research and caregiving initiatives).”

    SEC Digital Network: How unique is Pat’s decision to fight dementia/Alzheimer’s in the public eye and how important is that for creating awareness and helping to find a cure?

    Danielle Donehew: “Pat is unique in so many ways.  Her fierce courage in publicly fighting dementia, the Alzheimer’s type, is truly inspiring and we have great hope that her energy and example will inspire others to fight their own battle.  We have heard from a number of people that are saddened by her situation, while hopeful that with her help, the national effort will be taken to an entirely different level.  Now that Pat has joined this effort, we hope those that hear this story will feel moved to join Pat’s team.”   

    SEC Digital Network: What are your thoughts on the SEC’s We Back Pat week and how do you believe it can benefit the cause?

    Danielle Donehew: “We are extremely grateful to the Southeastern Conference and Commissioner Mike Slive for taking the initiative to support Pat in such a big way.  Pat is very proud to be an SEC coach.  Our goals for the We Back Pat week include increased awareness and financial support.  We hope this week will unite SEC schools/fans behind Pat and her challenge.  Every person brings a different talent to Pat’s team.  We are very thankful for the continued efforts of the SEC family to support Pat and her Foundation Fund.”