Giving Back

Donna remains a dynamic participant of the racing industry and enjoys an active involvement in numerous community support programs external to the racing industry. When she’s not on assignment with NBC, you will most likely find her participating in events geared towards increasing public awareness for causes that are near and dear to her, as well as sharing her industry expertise in an effort to ensure that the wonderful sport of horse racing is always moving forward, and always improving.

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) was a no-brainer for Donna. She has been involved with the TAA since its inception in 2012 and has served the organization in many capacities (Advisory Board, Executive Board, and/or Communications Committee Member). The Thoroughbred industry is the first of the sport-horse disciplines to establish an exit plan for their horses. The TAA has a dual mission of raising and providing funding for aftercare organizations, and serving as an accreditation body to said organization. The work of the TAA ensures that Thoroughbreds will have multiple options for a fulfilling life after racing.

Many of the people who work at the track also live there. This can make traveling to and participating in social service programs difficult. Donna has been dedicated to the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs (BLC) and their mission because, until the BLC, these workers did not have easy access to education programs and other social services. The BLC offers Spanish and English language classes, art classes, access to computers, a library, translation services, a Path to Citizenship program, community events, and much, much more. They also offer after school tutoring, which has turned into a very popular and vital program for them. In many cases, these children were coming home with homework to parents who did not speak English, so getting help from their parents wasn’t an option. The after-school tutoring program is giving these children a chance not just to succeed but to excel. Donna served on the BLC Board for seven years and still serves as an ambassador and advocate for the BLC.

Donna serves on the Executive Board of the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky (BIAK) and also on the Planning Committees for their two major fundraisers: the BIAK Brain Ball and the BIAK Run, Walk & Roll. Having incurred multiple concussions as a professional Thoroughbred jockey, she understands the importance of both preventing head trauma and treating it properly. BIAK’s mission is to serve those affected by brain injury through advocacy, education, prevention, service, and support.

Kentucky has the second highest child abuse rate in the country, and Maryhurst is an organization located in Louisville, KY, that provides family counseling as well as a safe haven, transitional services, and so much more to girls with a history of trauma. Donna has been a guest speaker for Maryhurst and a volunteer yoga teacher for the girls in residence. She remains a passionate supporter of this wonderful organization.