Donna M. Gaines

Donna M. Gaines is the President of Sage Collective, a not-for-profit organization formed in 1978 to provide safe and affordable rental housing centered on older adults with low and moderate incomes. The organization has expanded its mission to provide ancillary support services with an emphasis on initiatives that enhance the quality of life for older adults and help them achieve greater vitality, fulfillment, and dignity.

In addition to operating ongoing business enterprises, Donna previously served as the President & CEO of the Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (ABLE), an organization of nationally-recognized businesses, where she was responsible for cultivating business relationships and partnerships with Fortune 500 companies. She represented ABLE in discussions on small business development with members of the Public Liaison’s Office of President-elect Obama’s Transition Team, and participated in monthly briefings hosted by the Presidential Personnel Office for African-American leaders.

As the former National Director of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s International Trade Bureau, Donna coordinated the business development activities for its members under the leadership of Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., providing business coaching services for over 300 business owners. In addition to her responsibilities domestically, Donna served as the business development liaison with embassy officials and designees from Venezuela, Mexico, Ghana and London.

Recognizing that education, social entrepreneurship and economic empowerment are critical to the quality of life and the future of our families and communities, Donna has dedicated much of her professional and personal life to social impact programs and projects that advance these goals. Her board involvement includes Chicago TREND and Sunshine Enterprises, and previously, the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, The Primo Center for Women and Children, Roosevelt University’s Heller College of Business, Moneythink, and Village Leadership Academy. Donna also speaks nationally on ageism and advocacy, social entrepreneurship, as well as community engagement and empowerment strategies, and has received several awards and citations for her work.