Not all humanitarians are well-known. Some are everyday people performing extraordinary acts of love and kindness, like Carol Donald, who served as a foster parent to 100 children with medical needs in Northern California starting in 1965.
Carol Donald was born with a passion for babies and raising children. Simply stated, it's her life’s calling.
One of five daughters born in Northern California, Donald received her two-year Home Economics certificate in 1942. That same year she married her husband, Richard. They had a son, Edward, and six years later a daughter, Kathy.
As her own children grew up, the doors opened on Donald's dream in 1965, when she attended her daughter's confirmation class and saw two pregnant 14-year-old girls. She wondered, "What happens to those babies?" That night she prayed, and the next morning she saw a newspaper ad for foster parent training.
With her husband retired from the Air Force and her children in high school, the timing was perfect. Donald—ready to accept her mission—answered the ad and forever changed the face of foster parenting.
The challenges of foster parenting in the 1960s were daunting. For a young mother, being unwed and pregnant was socially unacceptable. For the child and foster and biological parent, the transition from foster to adoptive parents was, as Donald puts it, "a death." Social services agencies would take a child from the foster home and send him or her to adoptive parents without notice. Seeing the children's trauma, Donald became an integral part in developing a "partnership"—arranging meetings between foster and adoptive parents, and easing the transition. The foster children called her Grandma, and Donald reassured the children, telling them, "You're going to your new Mommy and Daddy."
Many of the infants Donald fostered suffered from fetal alcoholism or were methadone-addicted. When these babies experienced terrible seizures, Donald would rock them on her chest until the seizures subsided—sometimes for 24 hours—convinced that the babies could sense her love for them.
The passing of her husband in 1985, five days before his 65th birthday, didn't alter Donald's passion for raising children or her determination to give them a fighting chance. She continued to volunteer as a foster parent without her husband at her side for the next 23 years.
At age 85, Donald retired due to a fall where she broke her femur. As always, her primary concern was the children and a worry that she might fall and injure a child. The Jefferson Award, The Juvenile Justice Award and the Concord Human Relations Commission Lifetime Achievement Award are merely a few of the plaques that decorate her wall, gifts of gratitude from her community.
Her foster children stay in touch, attending an annual reunion where they call each other “cousins,” and she feels blessed. "It's a wonderful life I live, and if I had to live my life over I wouldn't do it one bit differently," she says.
Donald's devotion to so many children ignited a love that lights their lives and will be felt for generations. For the rest of us, she demonstrates that it's possible to make a difference in the world, transforming the most ordinary experiences with the power of love.
Love. Pass It On!
This billboard about Love features Carol Donald; foster parent.
Download Backstory PDF
Pass It On®
abbi from ur moms house OCTOBER 21, 2021
ahhhh so sweet.
Jenna Herritt from Kent state APRIL 14, 2020
Carol,you're nothing but a wonderful lady.
someone from somewhere SEPTEMBER 16, 2019
You are such a good person
Anonymous JANUARY 9, 2019
in LOVE with this story
Anonymous MARCH 14, 2018
This woman is so inspirational, I love her so much!
tom from CT MARCH 20, 2017
So inspirational,love it ;)
angel from 5530 old dixie hwy forest park ga JANUARY 3, 2017
great story you have great days ahead of you.
Ashiya from Mooresville nc NOVEMBER 28, 2016
Good job with fostering 100 kids
anon NOVEMBER 11, 2016
Anonymous APRIL 15, 2016
t-bone APRIL 1, 2016
Anonymous APRIL 1, 2016
NULL from NULL MAY 16, 2015
I am one of the lucky kids that was fostered by Grandma Carol., even after I was adopted I continued to take trips to visit her and Grampa Richard. I am so very, very lucky to have known her love! Thank you for everything, Grandma Carol! I love you!!
NULL from NULL JANUARY 26, 2015
I love Value.com - anyone who's anyone goes to it. It's the best site for making a difference.
NULL from NULL JANUARY 26, 2015
i love goodwill
brooklyn from school MARCH 20, 2014
100 kids. thats a lot of kids and a lot of love. =D
margarita from hartford FEBRUARY 28, 2014
that nice to foster 100 kids
prakash from Delhi JUNE 28, 2013
Value.com is the epitome of the best of the web. Its soulful to visit this amazing site.
Derpina from Japan MAY 28, 2013
She is a very inspirational person <3
Angela from Adrian MI MARCH 27, 2013
She was a very caring woman. To be honest, that is hard to find.
BB from US MARCH 22, 2013
MAKES ME CRY!!!!!!!!
tj from ct MARCH 21, 2013
BB from US MARCH 20, 2013
kyle.h from conneticut FEBRUARY 4, 2013
wow that is amazing she is such a kind and loving lady and is just a wonderful thing that anyone could be inspired by.
shalavion from tatescreek elemetry NOVEMBER 5, 2012
I agree she does have a huge heart for helping all those kids!
john b from queensland australia OCTOBER 24, 2011
What can you really say ? other than thank God for Mrs Donald. Please God, raise up many more like her....let us all be more involved in this great mission and need.
Mary Jane Burleson from Madison, Indiana JUNE 14, 2011
What a magnificent woman, Carol Donald is. I enjoyed reading the posts. You are a very special person who has touched innumerable lives, hearts and spirits!
Rebecca A from Providence, RI JUNE 7, 2010
You're are my Mentor, Carol. I love you also. GOD BLESS you always with the health, wealth, and happiness of his RICH LOVE upon you. It is an honor and privilege for me to read of you and your life. I thank GOD for you and thank you for your heart.
Abby from Donahue MARCH 9, 2010
I love you!
Rev. Liz j. from long beach, mississippi FEBRUARY 12, 2010
Thank you Carol for showing us the loving heart. You changed the world with that heart.
Rev. Liz from Mississippi
Kate B. from Washington JANUARY 30, 2010
Inspiration, love, kindness, achievement, you deserve to be on all of these billboards.
July J. from US DECEMBER 6, 2009
This is so inspirational! She cared for kids she didn't even know. Thank you Carol...for this inspirational act!
Peter Simon from Vietnam DECEMBER 2, 2009
This is a great story! I cried so much when I read this story! She reminded about my mom's love for me! Thanks so much, Carol! You are really a good mom of those children! I hope that you can do the best thing for them in the future!
Kayla, P. from McMinnville, Or. NOVEMBER 17, 2009
I have heard of many girls at our local high who have gotten pregnant and I too, have wondered about those poor helpless babies. She is an amazing person to take on that huge load, but she did it through love and strong determination!
Jaida A. from Orlando, Florida JULY 23, 2009
Carol is a really good person and bless her for the help she has done for those wonderful children. Go Carol!
Yesenia R. from Michigan MAY 18, 2009
Carol is a blessing person for all those babies without a home and need love.
Mili C. from Jefferson City. Missouri MAY 18, 2009
We have to much to give, but sometimes we don't realize that. Nobody needs big gifts, the only thing that matters is what feeling we show.
I know every single person has a little bit of LOVE to people who really need it.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO LOVE SOMEONE....
Jose P. from Jefferson City MAY 13, 2009
I THINK THIS IS SO SAD WHEN YOU TAKE CARE OF 100 CHILDREN AND THEN YOU HAVE TO LET THEN GO BECAUSE OF ADOPTION. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I FEEL HAPPY BECAUSE THOSE KIDS LOVED THAT WOMAN AS THEIR MOM.
Kimberly A. from Student MAY 13, 2009
I so feel for you..and if that was me I would so feel very bad. I can tell that you fell in love with every child you care for at your home. YOU, MRS. "GRANDMA CAROL," are one wonderful person!!!!! YOU SURE HAVE ONE GREAT HEART.. I WOULD OF LOVE TO THE SAME THING YOU HAVE DONE WITH ALL THOSE KIDS SOMEDAY.
Diana Z. from California MAY 12, 2009
I see this every time I go into Brawley, CA and its truly inspiring
Abbey A. from Missouri MAY 11, 2009
I think that is nice of Carol for helping all those kids that if she didn't help them maybe they wouldn't have good luck with other people.
Anna A. from Dannebrog, NE APRIL 6, 2009
I think Carol Donald is a hero because, as a strong believer in foster care, I think every child needs someone to love them. Fostering 100 kids, especially kids with medical needs, takes a special person. Carol must have a huge heart.
Jane D. from South Carolina JANUARY 3, 2009
Carol Donald deserves a billboard for all of the hard work she has done for her children. Go Carol!
Joseph M. from Benicia, CA DECEMBER 24, 2008
Grandma Carol is and always will be the best... I LOVE YOU GRANDMA.
Jody from Hayden, Idaho DECEMBER 21, 2008
Grandma Carol is an incredibly special person who has her arms open for anyone in need and has given hundreds of babies a valuable good start in life... Love ya always Carol!
Liz H from Owatonna, MN NOVEMBER 9, 2008
Bless Grandma Carol. My husband and I lost two daughters and after years of no children decided to adopt. My husband was not head over heels for it but we did it. If it wasn't for Grandma Carol we wouldn't have the two son's that we now have. Grandma Carol has been a Mother Theresa to a lot of us. She has been there through rough times and good times. Our boys to this day call her "Grandma Carol." Her continued love and ongoing concern for all the babies is something that we all treasure. Bless you Grandma Carol, you heard your calling and you went after it and to this day we still thank you.
Gunning T from Australia OCTOBER 15, 2008
In world that exhibits so much lack of concern for those in need, it is so heartening to read of Mrs. Donald. Thanks for her and her love for children.
Linda W. from Klamath Falls, OR OCTOBER 15, 2008
I volunteer at an elementary school where a very high percentage of our kids are from foster homes or homeless.
They're my "fragile ones" and they're an unbelievable joy to work with. To misquote the Beatles, all they need is love. Grandma Carol obviously gets it. As an ageing hippy, dippy flower child, it's so easy to be discouraged these days. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, dear lady.
Tayna T. from OREGON SEPTEMBER 11, 2008
What a huge heart! You are what the world needs more of.
Joe C. from Chicago IL SEPTEMBER 7, 2008
Mrs. Donald is an inspiration!
Lynda R. from Johannesburg, South Africa AUGUST 29, 2008
I have a heart for children who are in this circumstance and this billboard is just LOVELY! It makes me want to laugh out loud with joy! How wonderful! Thank you, Carol!
Amar Ramani from India JULY 8, 2008
A true sainthood.
Gaylord G. from Manila JUNE 30, 2008
Love and kindness are never wasted. She always makes a difference.
Amy C. from Northern CA JUNE 5, 2008
We feel very special to be able to say we have the 86th baby of Grandma Carol. She was and is amazing. It is so hard to put into words. Love is it, there is no other reason. She doesn't send them home with packed garbage bags and a few belongings, you need a large car for the baby's belongings. The most special for me as a mom was to know she really believed the transition neede to be right and she sent blanket upon blankets so that they scent of her would continue as our scent melded in eventually. This woman is a gift and we are very proud that you have chosen her. She deserves it and if it only inspires one other, it has worked. Thanks Grandma Carol!
ParkerFox C from Northern CA JUNE 5, 2008
Grandma Carol has amazing powers. She has the power of love. I love Grandma Carol, she used to cradle me. Grandma Carol is the very very very very very very best Grandma Carol in the whole world.
Judy H from Brentwood,Cal MAY 21, 2008
Carol is a loving and caring person. It takes a special person to give TLC and her time & patience to all those children. A job well done.
Heather F from Folsom, CA APRIL 1, 2008
Grandma Carol is a truely amazing woman with an amazing gift!! I'm so proud to know such a special person!
Imai J from Richmond, CA MARCH 17, 2008
I am so glad that Carol Donald is featured on this media. She is a very special person and the love that she has for all of the children is a true reflection of LOVE. She plays a very important role in the lives of so many people in this county.
Kathleen J from Richmond,CA MARCH 16, 2008
What an honor and she is very deserving of this tribute. She has touched many lives, and the world is a better place because of her.
Dolby Dubrow from Thousand Oaks MARCH 16, 2008
Life is Beautiful~
Marie B from Pensacola Fl MARCH 15, 2008
Many blessings to all foster parents. It is such a blessing to have people such as yourself that can open up your heart to these children. Keep going as the blessings flow.
Debbie B from Concord, CA MARCH 15, 2008
Hi Kathleen, We haven't seen the billboard yet, but will sure keep out eye out for it! How exciting. Easy to spot your beautiful kids in the photo. All our love, Rich, Debbie, Chloe and Bailey
Kathleen J from Richmond, CA MARCH 14, 2008
Carol Donald is such a wonderful and special lady. . .We call her "Grandma Carol" and I am blessed that she is in our lives. She is a SAINT, and the epitome of LOVE! Thanks for honoring her!
Byron Jones from Sylmar, CA MARCH 14, 2008
I haven't seen the billboard yet, but I just wanted to let you know that we are so proud of you and the crew!
"Grandma Carol" seems like a wonderful person. She has made tremendous contributions to so many.
Patti S from Carlsbad, CA MARCH 12, 2008
What a huge heart Mrs. Donald must have! Thanks to her for helping so many children in need. BRAVO!