Featured Rotarians: Bob & Carole Donahue
Bob & Carole Donahue
Bob and Carole Donahue’s fifty-year journey together in education and public service began when they practiced Old English with each other during a summer school class. They fell in love over Beowulf!
The unlikely union between a Westside girl and a Valley boy, a Bruin and a Trojan, produced two sons. Jason lives in Portola Valley, CA and is the father of Brynn, Tess and Toren. Scott and his children, Liam and Flynn, live in Wyzata, Minnesota.
Carole received a BA from UCLA and MA from CSUN, and Bob received a BA and MA in Child Psychology from CSUN, and an Ed.D. from USC. They embarked on careers in education, starting as English teachers. Bob became a college counselor and a principal, and eventually joined LAUSD as the principal of Wonderland Elementary, and then as a Director at the district level. Carole was an English teacher and then a nutrition educator for 8 years. She was an academic mentor program director for 8 years, overseeing 16 schools in LAUSD and a 1.6 million dollar budget.
Their strong commitment to helping underserved students achieve college degrees led to creation of the Socrates Opportunity Scholarship Foundation in 2000. It was focused on academic mentoring, college readiness and virtual college visits. But after meeting with students at Belmont High School to hear about their concerns, Bob and Carole realized that kids’ burning issue was how obesity was affecting the health and longevity of their families.
The Donahue’s switched the focus of their organization to nutrition and physical activity education, and SOSMentor was born. After retiring from teaching they have worked tirelessly to build SOSMentor, improve the health of our youth, and inspire the future leaders of our community.
They have many years of Rotary involvement. Carole chaired LA5’s Scholarship Committee for five years, and currently sits on the Community Service, SOSMentor and Photography Committees. She says, “We love Rotary because it gives us a chance to meet some truly amazing people and create programs that we could not accomplish on our own.”
Bob and Carole enjoy traveling, reading John Grisham books, and spending time with their grandchildren. Bob loves gardening, woodcarving and making birdhouses, and Carole is a photography buff. Their favorite restaurants are Desperados in Cabo San Lucas and California Market at the Highlands Inn in Carmel.
To put themselves through college, Bob worked in the Safeway produce department and Carole was a grocery checker at Vons. They would invite two people to their fantasy meal: Michelle Obama to tell her about SOSMentor and Wolfgang Puck because he’s a character and tells great stories (he told some at one of the SOSMentor events).
Their happy place is on the beach with Bob fishing in Pacific Grove, CA, or Cabo San Lucas, and Carole taking pictures and enjoying the ocean.