DOWNEY – Kevin MacDonald, the longtime executive director of The Arc – Los Angeles & Orange Counties, has accepted a job leading Culver City-based Westside Regional Center. MacDonald’s last day at The Arc was Thursday.
“It was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make,” said MacDonald, 51. “But this gives me an opportunity to attack the disability field from a different angle. After 23 years, I asked myself, ‘How can I make a greater impact?’”
Westside Regional Center is a non-profit corporation that contracts with the California State Department of Developmental Services to provide services and support for persons with developmental disabilities. It is one of 21 such organizations in California and serves nearly 8,000 clients in Los Angeles County.
MacDonald will be its executive director.
After graduating from the University of Dayton, MacDonald was named director of the largest residential program in New Jersey. Several years later, he moved to California to attend business school at UC Berkeley, where he received his MBA.
Upon graduation from Berkeley in 1991, MacDonald spent a year as assistant executive director for The Arc of California, advocating on system-wide issues. He was named executive director of The Arc in Downey in 1993, when he was 28 years old.
“I’d like to thank the Arc board for taking a chance on me,” MacDonald said with a smile. “Since I was 17 I wanted to be executive director of an Arc.”
Over the last 22 years, MacDonald developed new and innovative programs that promoted advocacy, rights and employment among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
He also introduced the Arc Walk for Independence, which not only raises money for the organization but links Arc clients to the general public, helping to erase negative stigmas attached to people with disabilities.
“I can’t express how much gratitude I have for the entire Downey community,” MacDonald said. “This community has really welcomed people with developmental disabilities. It should be proud of the incredible service center they have right here.”
MacDonald lives in Lakewood and has two sons – Connor, a junior at UC Santa Cruz, and Reed, a freshman at UCLA. He has also been a member of Downey Rotary and the Downey YMCA board of managers.
“I have spent more than half of my life with this family, so while I leave to assist the disability community in another way, I remain a volunteer and the biggest cheerleader of The Arc family,” MacDonald wrote in a staff memo to colleagues. “In quite a few years, when I retire, my dream is to travel this country and assist other Arc chapters to be as great as this one.”
Donna Lindley, chief program officer for The Arc, has been named MacDonald’s replacement. She begins her new position Monday.
Published: Jan. 29, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 42