With a pure heart to help the little children, Kathy Donaldson has made a difference!

October 3, 2022


Dan Shufelt

Over the past year, my blogposts have included stories about a number of charity heroes. I’m so proud to call many who work incredibly hard to make our world a better place, my friends. Folks like Kris Jacober, Denise Resnik and Rob Scheer have been the topic of prior blogs. Their work is inspirational, and they have greatly influenced my life.

I had the opportunity to see a charity hero in action when I volunteered and worked alongside Kathy Donaldson for many years. This dynamic woman has dedicated most of her life to helping kids, volunteering her time and energy to raise up those in need. While serving as a law enforcement officer in Ohio in her younger days, a perpetrator threw Kathy down the stairs, breaking her back and leaving her with permanent physical disabilities, not to mention – pain. That event ended her career. Kathy overcame these challenges by volunteering her time to help – in the schools, at church and everywhere she could be useful. With her husband Paul (now deceased), they were a formidable force in community service, even receiving the 2004 Hon Kachina award from the Roman Catholic Diocese for outstanding Arizona volunteers.

I met Kathy more than 20 years ago when I learned that she had started a small volunteer-based charity and could use some help. I put up my hand to assist with accounting and tax needs, and Kathy pounced! She asked me to step in as Board Treasurer, and we began a partnership that spanned more than two decades, working together to make a difference in the lives of children and families who were in crisis. Kathy has always been there to lend a helping hand whenever and wherever it was needed, in her words, “one dream, one child, one family at a time.”

Kathy founded the organization as a promise to her sister, Patty, who was dying of cancer. On Patty’s deathbed, she asked Kathy to perform one good deed a day to make our world a better place for all. With this simple concept, Kathy made a commitment to Patty, and has spent her life performing those good deeds. The work she began has brightened the holidays for boys and girls who otherwise wouldn’t have a gift to open at the holidays, and has provided clothing, beds and more to children in foster care. Truly changing our community for the better.

Kathy has never sought out the spotlight. She always told me that when people operate with a pure heart to help the little children, good things will happen. Oh my, what good things have happened, thanks to Kathy’s pure heart.

Especially in these times of trauma, there are some things that we all should easily come together around. One of those is recognizing that the work done by charity heroes in our community is vitally important and worthy of our gratitude. The folks who give everything they’ve got to help others are very special people who deserve a hearty round of applause. This is my round of applause for a friend, a mentor and a hero.

Kathy Donaldson has devoted her life with virtually no personal reward to doing one good deed a day – and the number has tallied into the tens of thousands now. Our world is a better place thanks to all that she has made possible. Thank you, my friend, for your pure heart to help the little children. Our universe needs more people like you!

Dan Shufelt, the former CEO of Arizona Helping Hands, has been involved in the charity world as an executive and grant maker for many years.

If you enjoy learning of caring people and the amazing work they devote their energy to advance, be sure to sign up for Dan’s blog (see sign-up form below).


  1. Kathleen Donaldson

    Thanks Dan, I love you man.

    • Dan Shufelt

      Right back at you!!!

    • Anne Christensen

      I was blessed with being introduced to Kathy’s organization, Arizona Helping Hands, 5 1/2 years ago. I have been a regular volunteer there weekly since then. Some weeks three or four days! I believed in the organization and saw how much good they did! Kathy, you are an inspiration and a hero to me! Love you my friend!

      • Dan Shufelt

        Anne, I have so loved your heart for volunteering. Hope you are well…

    • Betty Jensen

      Beautiful story.

  2. Denise Resnik

    Another beautiful and poignant post! Thank you for keeping us connected and allowing us all to get to know Kathleen better — what a source of inspiration!!

    • Dan Shufelt

      Two of my charity heroes – Denise Resnik & Kathy Donaldson…. Thanks for the kind words

  3. Susan Salamone

    It was my honor and pleasure to work side by side with Kathy & Dan for maybe a dozen years, including being a board member. Kathy truly is full of grace and an inspiration to all, for her great big heart, her beautiful smile & selfless devotion of time to children. You are always in my heart and your ways have made me a better person. Love you Kathy & all that you stand for my friend.

  4. Victoria Eging

    Such a beautiful post for an amazing woman. I love and appreciate Arizona Helping Hands. We have been recipients for several years while we were fostering/adopting in Arizona. Truly a gift.
    Thank you.

  5. Annie Ansell

    You are such an amazing person, I love your writing and your work. Thank you

    • Dan Shufelt

      Thanks for you kind words Annie!


    Well deserved kudos for an exceptional member of our community! Thank you Kathy (and Dan for highlighting her)!

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