Leadership Conference of Women Religious to honor Sister Donna Markham

Alexandria, Va – Sister Donna Markham OP, Ph.D., the president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), will receive the 2023 Outstanding Leadership Award from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) this summer. LCWR, the association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States, bestows this honor on someone who has significantly contributed to the ministry of leadership and who reflects the LCWR mission.

Sister Donna, a former president of LCWR, will be recognized for her decades of inspiring leadership and her faithfulness to gospel values. She will retire this summer after eight years guiding CCUSA, a national membership organization that represents the interests of Catholic Charities’ 167 member agencies and more than 3,400 locations that serve people in need in our country.

Under Sister Donna’s innovative leadership, the Catholic Charities network across the U.S. and its territories has experienced tremendous growth and currently serves more than 15 million vulnerable people annually, regardless of their religious affiliation. Early in her tenure, she led a process that strategically aligned CCUSA’s priorities and advocacy efforts around affordable housing, integrated health, food and nutrition, immigration and refugee services, disaster services and workforce development. Sister Donna also oversaw CCUSA’s response to the pandemic, answering the call for increased assistance to reduce evictions, food insecurity and unemployment.

Sister Donna is an Adrian Dominican sister and board-certified clinical psychologist. She has spent her career seeking to transform the delivery of behavioral health care as former president of the Behavioral Health Institute at Mercy Health system, and as president of the Southdown Institute in Ontario, Canada. She served as Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation and served for eight years as a member of CCUSA’s Board of Directors, including two years as Board chairperson.

Sister Donna earned 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 2014. For each of the past seven years, Sister Donna has been named by the NonProfit Times as one of the “Power & Influence Top 50 Leaders.” She is a member of Leadership 18, an alliance of CEOs responsible for leading some of the country’s largest and most well-respected charities, nonprofits and faith-based organizations. She also serves on its executive committee.

LCWR will celebrate Sister Donna’s leadership and present the award at the closing banquet of the LCRW assembly in Dallas on August 11.




A member of Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. Catholic Charities USA’s members provide help and create hope to more than 15 million people a year regardless of religious, social or economic backgrounds. To learn more about CCUSA, please visit our website at www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.