Executive Director’s Corner

Donnell R. White, Executive DirectorDONNELL R. WHITE

Mr. Donnell R. White, acclaimed as one of Detroit’s eminent emerging leaders, continues a family legacy of being civically engaged, culturally connected and spiritually lead.

Mr. White attended Michigan State University and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance in 2001.  During his collegiate career he worked in the finance industry with companies Motorola Inc. and Henry Ford Health Systems.   Mr. White was also exceedingly active in student life and became very involved with several organizations such as; President- Black Caucus, President- National Pan Hellenic Council, President- National Association of Black Accountants, Mentor- My Brother’s Keeper Mentor Program and Member- Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (Delta Pi Chapter), among others.

Mr. White entered the Detroit Branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as a volunteer in 2002 and was hired as an administrative assistant in 2003.  Rapidly attracting young people to the Association, Mr. White was promoted to Youth & Education Director in 2004.  Following the hard-fought battle in Michigan for the protection of affirmative action in 2006, Mr. White distinguished himself as an unrelenting force in the civil rights and social justice community speaking throughout the state, organizing, educating and mobilizing communities.  Despite the passage of the anti-affirmative action initiative, Mr. White was recognized as a developing voice for the people and was appointed to the position of Deputy Executive Director in 2007.  Appointed interim Executive Director in March of 2011 and Executive Director in October of 2011, Mr. White continues to serve in that capacity and holds the distinction of being the youngest Deputy Director and Executive Director to be appointed in the history of the NAACP.

Committed to being civically engaged, Mr. White has become immersed within the community through various local, statewide and national organizations and initiatives.   Some include; Member- Detroit Future City Steering Committee, Co-Chair- ClearCorps/Detroit, Member- Federal Bureau of Investigations Multicultural Advisory Committee, Member- Michigan Department of Transportation’s Detroit Transportation Workforce Diversity Forum, Member- Wayne State University Board of Governors Community Retention/Oversight Advisory Group, Member- Wayne State University President’s Advisory Group, Member- Fellowship Chapel Men’s Christian Fellowship, Commissioner- Detroit Crime Commission, and Board Member- The Youth Connection (Detroit)

In addition, Mr. White was appointed by Mayor Dave Bing as Detroit Police Commissioner in December of 2010.  As Commissioner, Mr. White serves as Vice-Chairman and has the responsibility of increasing public confidence in the Detroit Police Department by providing accountability through competent, objective and effective civilian oversight in the following ways: 1) Reviewing, evaluating and establishing Detroit Police Department policies, rules and regulations.  2) Reviewing and approving the Detroit Police Department budget annually.  3) Acting as final authority in imposing and reviewing discipline of employees of the Detroit Police Department.  4) Preparing an Annual Report of the Detroit Police Department activities, including the handling of crime, complaints and of future plans.  5) Reviewing and approving the Detroit Police Department personnel promotions.

Acknowledged locally, nationally and internationally for his spirit of community activism, Mr. White was selected in 2014 by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) as a Marshall Memorial Fellow – a diverse transatlantic leadership community of more than 3,000 distinguished members building a first-hand understanding of priorities and solutions across the Atlantic; Recipient of the 2012 Detroit Free Press and Metropolitan Affairs Coalition’s Dave Bing Future Leader Award for promoting regional cooperation throughout southeastern Michigan; 2012 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit, Inc. Community Service Award for exemplary community engagement; and the 2012 Michigan Chronicle Men of Excellence Award for a consummate commitment to civil rights and social justice advocacy.

For his unwavering commitment at a young age, Mr. White received the 2010 Michigan FrontPage Newspaper’s inaugural FP: Thirty Award, which honored thirty (30) individuals in southeastern Michigan under forty (40) years of age for creating a movement within their professional arenas, personal lives and community connections; 2007 Michigan Chronicle Newspaper’s Contemporary Pioneer of the year award for his community involvement, activism and dedication to the Metro-Detroit area; 2005 Fifth Third Bank Young History Maker’s Award, for bridging the gap between the work of the civil rights and social justice community and the youth of the next generation.

Recipient of multiple Spirit of Detroit Awards and various other acknowledgements, Mr. White continues to be distinguished for his activism within the community.

Despite his various appointments, awards and honors, Mr. White knows that he “is” because so many people who have gone before him “were.”  Mr. White is the beneficiary of a family and community that has wrapped their arms around him, demanded greatness and physically, mentally and spiritually supported the pursuit thereof.  Spiritually grounded and fortified, Mr. White leads his life by Micah 6:8 “What does the Lord require of thee but to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.”


Revised: April 2014

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