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December 7, 2011
Doe Fund?s McDonald Honored

by Fred Scaglione
George T. McDonald, Founder and President of The Doe Fund, has been honoured by the Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York (ABO) with the first-ever Jerome Belson Humanitarian of the Year Award for his work helping homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals regain their self-sufficiency.   The award was presented at the Association’s 101st Annual Dinner Gala, held on December 1st at the Battery Park City Ritz Carlton.

Best known for the “men in blue” of its Ready, Willing & Able program, The Doe Fund is one of New York City’s premier providers of human services, with a $50 million annual operating budget.  McDonald founded the organization in 1985 in an effort to respond to the burgeoning homelessness crisis in New York City, creating programs – most notably Ready, Willing & Able – that provide paid work, training, and housing opportunities that help participants break the cycles of homelessness, criminal recidivism, and substance abuse.

“I am humbled and honored to receive an award named for Jerry Belson, the most humanitarian person I’ve had the privilege to know,” said McDonald. “Beyond his dedication to showing that affordable housing can also be quality housing, his commitment to improving the lives of others through charitable works is unparalleled,” he added.

Belson served as ABO’s President for nearly 25 years before stepping down and becoming President Emeritus this summer.  His company, Jerome Belson Enterprises, manages more than 50,000 units of affordable housing.  He was inducted into the New York State Builders Association Hall of Fame in 2003 and is recipient of a Public Service Award from the New York Housing Conference/National Housing Conference.

Other honorees at the ABO Gala included:  New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, who was named Public Servant of the Year;  Fred Harris, AvalonBay Senior Vice President, who accepted the Development Company of the Year award;  and Massey Knakal Realty Services Chairman Robert Knakal, whose company was named Brokerage Company of the Year.

“It’s really us who are honored by this great group, not the other way around,” said Dan Margulies, Executive Director of ABO. “George McDonald is familiar to every New Yorker who sees the formerly homeless Ready, Willing & Able workers in their blue uniforms cleaning our streets, doing building maintenance and learning job and living skills,” he added.

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