Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) today named Ayonna Blue Donald as its new vice president and Ohio market leader, effective November 29. A longtime public servant for the city of Cleveland, Donald served as director of the city’s Department of Building and Housing from 2017 to 2021 and most recently served as the chief of Commercial Services and Governmental Affairs for the Department of Port Control.
“I congratulate Ms. Ayonna Blue Donald on her new role as vice president and Ohio market leader at Enterprise Community Partners,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “During her tenure, Ms. Blue Donald has been an asset to my administration, working with public and private partners across Cleveland to improve the health and safety of our neighborhoods. She is a smart, effective, accomplished public servant and one of the best directors of the department of Building & Housing. I wish her well in her new role.”
Donald will lead Enterprise’s work across Ohio, advancing housing-based programs and creative policy solutions that help Ohioans achieve housing stability and economic mobility. Her work will include leading the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition, a public-private partnership that supports effective and equitable solutions to lead poisoning across the city, for which she has served as a steering committee member since 2019. She will also oversee the Justice Involved Homes program, which works to increase the availability of all types of housing as part of a comprehensive support system for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Donald will assume the role from Mark McDermott, who is retiring at the end of 2021 after 24 years with Enterprise.
“Ayonna brings both professional experience and a deep personal commitment to equitable, affordable homes, and we are thrilled to have her at the helm of Enterprise’s Ohio office. We know she will hit the ground running to build and innovate on our work across the state,” said Jacqueline Waggoner, president of the Solutions division at Enterprise. “And all of us at Enterprise congratulate our friend and colleague Mark McDermott, whose retirement is so well deserved after dedicating more than two decades to improving lives and communities in Ohio and across the country.”
As the director of Cleveland’s Department of Building and Housing, Donald oversaw the enforcement of the city’s land use ordinances; eliminated thousands of vacant and abandoned properties throughout the city; reinstated a systematic rental inspection program; established strong relationships with community leaders; and worked hand in hand with the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition to legislate and implement a lead safe certificate program.
“This is an incredibly important time for housing in Cleveland and the state of Ohio, and I am ready to bring all of Enterprise’s national platform to bear to benefit the people and communities we serve,” said Donald. “I look forward to working with our public and private partners to maximize the opportunities provided by Cleveland’s new housing plan and to ensure equitable growth across the region.”
Originally from Detroit, Donald first made Cleveland home when she earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. She also holds a juris doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law and early in her career worked in the legal field before returning to Cleveland in 2012. Donald has also served as the president of the Greater Cleveland Delta Foundation Life Development Center, a nonprofit committed to empowering low- and moderate-income members of the Greater Cleveland community. She was named a “Woman of Note” by Crain’s Cleveland Business in 2021.