CCUSA names Sister Donna Markham new president

January 12, 2015
Catholic Charities USA Logo on a purple background.

Alexandria, Va. – The Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) Board of Trustees announced today that Sister Donna Markham OP, Ph.D., president of the Behavioral Health Institute for Mercy Health, has been selected as its new president. Sister Donna, the first female president to lead CCUSA in the organization’s 105-year history, has a doctorate in clinical psychology and a proven track record in organizational leadership. She succeeds Rev. Larry Snyder, who served as CCUSA’s president since 2005, and will officially be seated as CCUSA’s 10th president on June 1, 2015.

“After a nationwide search, Sister Donna was selected based on her extensive relevant experience, her demonstrated leadership skills and her deep sense of commitment to the poor,” said Sister Linda Yankoski, chair of CCUSA’s Board of Trustees and president and CEO of the Holy Family Institute. “She has served national and local nonprofit organizations within the Catholic community at the executive and leadership levels, and brings a breadth of creativity, perspective and experience.”

“I am both honored and humbled to engage in this enormously important ministry,” said Sister Donna Markham, incoming president of CCUSA. “There can be no greater call than to serve and advocate on behalf of persons who struggle to get by in a world where they are all-too-frequently relegated to the margins of society and where they long for dignity, hope and compassion. I feel blessed to walk among the many dedicated Catholic Charities workers across the country who daily make the Gospel come alive through their care for their sisters and brothers in need.”

Sister Donna is an Adrian Dominican sister and board certified clinical psychologist. In her current position for Mercy Health she is engaged in leading the transformation of the delivery of behavioral healthcare services across seven major geographic regions. Prior to joining Mercy Health, Sister Donna served 10 years as the president of the Southdown Institute in Ontario, Canada and as Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation. She also served for eight years as a member of CCUSA’s Board of Trustees, two of which as Board chair.

“Sister Donna’s appointment promises a seamless transition at the end of ten years of outstanding leadership by Fr Larry Snyder who returns to special ministry in his home Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota,” said Bishop David A. Zubik, Episcopal Liaison to CCUSA’s Board of Trustees. “I welcome Sister Donna’s appointment in my capacity as liaison between the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and CCUSA. I will do all in my power to support her leadership and passion in working to respond to the growing needs of the underprivileged, especially following the example of our dear Pope Francis. I look forward to working closely with Sister Donna in advancing the strong ties that already exist between Catholic Charities and the USCCB.”

“Sister Donna Markham brings to Catholic Charities USA remarkable credentials as a religious sister, as an expert in the area of clinical psychology and the delivery of mental health services as well as experience as the former president and CEO of the Southdown Institute,” said His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. “Catholic Charities USA will certainly benefit from this mingling of compassionate care for those in need and managerial expertise in providing such care that characterizes Sister Donna Markham and her dedication to mission.”

“Sister Donna will bring to Catholic Charities USA a deep love for Christ and the Church – a passionate commitment to alleviating human suffering and well developed skills in empowering both colleagues and clients,” said Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin.

Sister Donna received her doctorate from the University of Detroit and was named a Fellow in the American Association of Clinical Psychologists. She was awarded the prestigious Harold S. Bernard Training Award from the American Group Psychotherapy Association in February 2014.

“Having known Sister Donna for many years, I believe she has the strategic acumen, energy and commitment to build on CCUSA’s solid foundation and bring the organization to new heights. I have tremendous respect for her professional accomplishments and am confident she will make a measurable impact on Catholic Charities and its network. Catholic Health Association looks forward to continuing our strong relationship with CCUSA and its new leadership,” said Sister Carol Keehan, DC, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

“We, Donna’s Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan, are so proud but not in the least bit surprised that our Sister Donna Markham has been chosen to lead Catholic Charities USA – the first woman to serve as president of the organization in its 100-year-plus history,” said Sister Attracta Kelly, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation. “At a time of ever-pressing need and growing despair in our world, Donna’s visionary leadership, indomitable spirit, and sense of compassion will combine to make a real and lasting difference for Catholic Charities and all of the people throughout the country who are blessed by the wonderful service Catholic Charities continues to provide to those on the margins.”

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