George McDonald, Power Broker for Powerless, dies at 76

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    George McDonald, who moved away from a corporate career and spent 700 lonely nights at Grand Central Terminal to feed Mendicants, crack addicts and runways, laying the foundation for a second act as the founder of the Doe Fund, a nonprofit. The man who provided housing and jobs was killed thousands of years ago on January 26 in Manhattan. He Was 76.

    His wife Harriet Karr-Macdonald said the cause was cancer.

    Since its founding in 1985, the Doe Fund has grown into a large organization with an annual budget of approximately $ 65 million. As his leader and public face, Mr. McDonald gained prominence in New York’s political and philanthropic fields.

    The Do Fund is known for its army of garbage baggers and street sweepers in blue jumpsuits to be deployed in Manhattan and surrounding areas of Brooklyn, all of these m. McDonald’s vision embodies how to leave the homeless and break the cycle of being jailed: opportunities to re-enter society through the stable at polite work.

    His ideas developed from the many conversations he had with long-term homeless people as a volunteer to distribute food.

    In 1999 he told The New York Times, “Over-the-top people told me they appreciated the sandwich, but they really needed a room and a job to pay for it.”

    The image
    Credit …Ryan Christopher Jones for The New York Times

    His beliefs stemmed from his own life.

    After a childhood in which his father was absent and his mother died of tuberculosis, Mr. McDonald dropped out of college in the mid-1960s and threw himself into work, from department store salesmen in New Jersey to New York moved to executive postings in key positions. City clothing companies.

    But he seems to see New York’s streets, parks, and train stations with a new social class: seeing the “homeless” as alienated from corporate privileges.

    “He Tired of stepping on people who look like garbage on the streets after spending $ 250 at the time for lunch, ”Ms. Karr-McDonald said.

    Quitting his job in the early 1980s, at a time when he was single and distant from his family, Mr. Macdonald vowed poverty. He Only moved into a living room building with space for a chair and a bed, and a shared bathroom in the hallway. He A law firm started a minimum wage job in the mailroom and declined promotion, which was expected to demonstrate viability of life at the bottom of the labor market. For nearly two years he worked with the Alliance for the Homeless every night, spending hours distributing food to the destitute people inside Grand Central.

    On Christmas Day 1985, a woman called Mr. Befriended McDonald, known only as Mama, he died after being taken out of the police station overnight. She Mr. Macdonald was wearing a scarf that he had given him for Christmas. Not for the last time, he was called to the morgue to identify the body of a homeless man.

    Pledging to end his nights at Grand Central and begin working for the homeless at large, he formed the Doe Fund, naming it in honor of Mama, which authorities called Mama Doe after his death.

    The image

    Credit …Ting-Li Wang / The New York Times

    In the early years, with the support of a few individuals, Doe MacDon largely served as a vehicle for Mr. McDonald to address the crisis of homelessness to city officials.

    Drawing the attention of the media, his criticism pressured public officials and, in 1988, awarded the city Doe a contract to randomly build homeless people and renovate city-owned buildings. The program was successful until the mid-1990s, when the city sold the buildings the organization was working on.

    Ms. Karr-McDonald said, “We were to lay off 70 people. Doe raised the money as its executive vice president.” “We were faced with complete bankruptcy.”

    The crisis forced a reinforcement. Without knowing how he would pay for it, Mr. McDonald began cleaning his workers on the streets and bombarding the upper east side of Manhattan. Grateful local residents responded by slipping cash under the door of his and his wife’s house on East 84th Street.

    In 2002, with the help of real estate magnate Louise Rudin, Doe struck a road-cleaning deal with the East Midtown Partnership Business Improvement District. Doe, a jobs program known as Ready, Willing and Able, was devised to develop.

    In the 1990s, as many liberals accepted the conservative argument that welfare programs discouraged self-sufficiency, Mr. McDonald became a prominent spokesman against “handouts” and low-paid as the starting point for social mobility. Were in favor of jobs. . Doe began running a number of shelters in and around New York City, leading to residency status and abstaining from drugs at work requirements.

    During those years Doe found a restrained partner in the coalition on issues such as the need for dependents who were paid wages and Doe pay rents by business reform districts for the homeless coalition. Mr McDonald called his rival group a “coalition against the homeless” and asked “Why would anyone want to protect someone’s right to lie around doing nothing?”

    The image

    Credit …Bebeto Mathews / Associated Press

    To argue for Doe’s effectiveness, he told stories about the people who helped it. He Anthony was fond of the story of Malpika, who was convicted of breaking and entering 50 times, but who, after his experience with Doe, ironically became a law-abiding locksmith.

    According to Doe, about 28,000 New Yorkers have been helped in its programs. Studies conducted by two Harvard sociologists in 2010 and 2018 in New York State found that participation in Ready, Willing and Able significantly reduced the likelihood of arrest and criminal conviction, among other benefits.

    But criticism has prompted consideration of some of Doe’s policies. Last year, an analysis of the street-sweeping program by the news site The Appeal found that some of its workers were earning less than the federal minimum wage of $ 7.25 per hour. That article and others questioned the suitability of more than $ 400,000 as a salary in 2017, with Mr. McDonald and Ms. Curr-McDonald each attracted, as well as, a salary of about $ 300,000 for their son, John, who was on several highs. Posted on non-profit posts

    Beginning in public life as a fearsome idealist, by the end of his career Mr. McDonald had become a power broker. He Andrew M. He maintained a friendship with Cuomo, who was nominated to the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, on which Mr. McDonald served from 2017 until his death. Celebrities participated in the Do Fund Galas. A beneficiary of mayor michael R. Bloomberg’s personal altruism, he was criticized for showcasing Marshall Doe’s resources behind Mr. Bloomberg’s successful bid to expand mayoral term limits.

    Mr. McDonald himself ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor in the Republican primary in 2013 with a platform for the homeless. (Former Metropolitan Transportation Authority President Joseph J. Lotta won the nomination.)

    Osborne Association chief executive Elizabeth Gaines, a nonprofit who, like Doe, helps unorganized people in the past, said she disagreed with Mr. McDonald on a number of issues but said she never had honesty Or did not doubt the far-reaching effect. Of their activism.

    “He Demonstrated that when an opportunity is offered, people will increase it, ”said Ms. Gaines. “It was a very important contribution to the world in which people wanted to describe those we consider lazy or incapable.”

    George Thomas McDonald was born on April 28, 1944 in Spring Lake, NJ. His father, John, was an insurance executive and his mother, Helen (Storminger) McDonald, was a homemaker. George’s father left the family before he was born, and George spent much of his childhood in a hospital sick with tuberculosis, visiting his mother. When he was 4 years old, the police picked him up when he was riding a bike alone on his tricycle. They drove him out of the house and no one was found there.

    In his Catholic elementary and middle school, George ate breakfast with the priests; He later attributed his upbringing to her and his moral zeal towards the teachings by the nuns. He Dreamed of being elected president, and when he was 8, he subscribed to The Congressional Record.

    Mr. McDonald’s first two marriages ended in divorce. He The 19-year-old met Harriet Karr at the funeral of the homeless Savino, whom they both knew from Grand Central Terminal. They got married six months later.

    In addition to him and his son, John, from his first marriage, Mr. McDonald is survived by his first marriage, a daughter of Andrea McDonald; Ms. Karr-Macdonald’s daughter from a previous marriage, Abigail Mann, adopted by Mr. Macdonald; Another daughter, Ashley McDonald; One brother, John; And three grandchildren. He Died in New York-Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan.

    Ms. Karr-Macdonald previously worked as a screenwriter, and she spent time with Ms. Savino to write a film about her life. After his funeral, Mr. Macdonald read the script. He told the Times in 2013, “It was a scene in his soul. The script convinced him that he would marry Ms. Karr,” he said, “because I knew she was in Grand Central Station.”

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