Donna Palmer: How You Can Help Save the Children

October 6 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Focus on Families

Many women aren’t fortunate enough to have a Brady Bunch kind of family, and instead, find all the things that family can provide—love, comfort, understanding—through friendships.

Today, we’re talking about children who were and are facing tough challenges. Maybe you don’t have kids. Maybe you don’t have a traditional American family. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do your part to make one child’s life a little better. If you know of a kid in need or simply a child in your neighborhood who needs a little bit of those essential things that make family an invaluable asset, be a friend to her.


With 2.9 million cases of child abuse reported every year in the United States, consider extending your assistance beyond your community. According to the Department of Social and Health Services, there are 10 key things you can do to prevent child abuse, including teaching children about their rights, supporting prevention programs, volunteering and, most importantly, investing in children.

It’s imperative to report such abuse, but also know the signs of abuse, such as kids having difficulty trusting others, sudden changes in their eating or sleeping habits and moments of hostility. It’s also important to take a look at your own behavior because abuse isn’t just physical. When communicating with children, be sure to choose your words wisely.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Donna Palmer: Chief External Relations Officer of Upbring

Few organizations have lasted more than a century, but the nonprofit Upbring is one of them. For 135 years, Upbring has focused on breaking the cycle of child abuse, and today’s Woman to Watch, Donna Palmer, is helping empower families, communities and children as Upbring’s chief external relations officer.

Donna had a deep desire to help children since watching her own father overcome childhood trauma. After putting herself through law school, Donna went to work as a labor-and-employment attorney, a noteworthy job in itself. But her devotion to children remained at her core, and she realized she could make a difference in the lives of children by delving into philanthropy. Her tenacity, intelligence and passion just couldn’t be restrained.

With her sights set on helping others, Donna landed a job as the director of gift planning at a children’s medical center in Tennessee, a move that soon propelled her into other fundraising positions at the American Diabetes Association and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she played an integral role in the giving program, increasing gifts, and foundation and grant income. Donna also led a fundraising team at a child-relief organization, and spent time working for cancer-support nonprofit The Livestrong Foundation.

With all that amazing experience under her belt, Donna has now found her true calling at Upbring, which offers an array of helpful programs and services for families, from foster care to adoptions and access to children’s centers, as well as research and advocacy resources. One particular Upbring treatment center helps troubled girls 11 to 17 years old who have developed emotional disorders caused by abuse and neglect.

Donna doesn’t just talk the talk; she definitely walks the walk. In 2009, she adopted an 11-month-old girl from a Russian orphanage, with the hope of giving her a better life. Donna believes in giving every family the tools necessary to provide their kids with the same amount of love and opportunities her daughter now has.

This big-hearted gal says she’s a recovering perfectionist, a characteristic she admits was occasionally paralyzing as a young, professional woman and kept her from speaking up in some situations. Having learned perfection is unattainable, Donna now urges young women to embrace their passion and ideas now, not to wait for things to be perfect. In the meantime, she’ll keep working to make the world a safer place for kids and generations to come.


One of Donna Palmer’s favorite quotes really sums up her journey so far. Courageous Eleanor Roosevelt said:

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us!

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

Get On The Dot in your inbox each day.
Copyright 2018 © On The Dot Woman - All Rights Reserved Privacy Policy