Senior of the Year

Carquinez Village is an organization that was designed to assist aging adults by helping to provide services, activities, and educational, social, and cultural programs to their daily lives. Per their vision statement, “Carquinez Village envisions all older adults living in a diverse and inclusive community with dignity, purpose and well being.” Judie Donaldson is a founding member of Carquinez Village and was recently awarded the title “Senior of the Year” by the Solano Senior Coalition for her important work with the organization. In light of her achievements, Valero awarded a $10,000 check to Carquinez Village. For more about Judie Donaldson and her work with Carquinez Village, read on below:

Retiring to Benicia in 2011, Judie Donaldson has never slowed, engaging continuously in community initiatives. She had been grappling with the personal and societal changes that occur for the retiring/aging population and asked herself, “So what’s next?” Judie and her compatriot, Lois Request, discovered that a village movement had begun to support aging adults who choose to remain in their homes, and this meant finding solutions for safety, transport, social and educational opportunities, modifying systems and creating new ones. Up went Judie’s hand; her life had new purpose.

Structure was required. Bringing concept to reality required her excellent networking skills, persuasion, and passion. Up went her hand; the other one began passing the hat. Initiatives take resources, connected people and funds. Never shy, Judie applied herself. The resulting scaffold needed members; legitimacy; policies and procedures. Deliverables and volunteers. With personal investment, and strong networks, Judie headed up letter-writing campaigns, speaking engagements, events, and home teas. The idea gained momentum, triggering a response in the eyes and hearts of community members.

As co-chair of this fledgling organization. Judy organized and guided. Volunteers were trained; publications created; website and newsletter developed. Membership grew; funding through donations, grant applications and dues provided monetary resources. As President, Judie received daily recognition from grateful members and fulfilled volunteers. She has served as chair and an active member on several committees including committees of one: Judie. Easy to spot, her hand is always up, ready to move the agenda.

Her tireless leadership has created a thriving IOC-member nonprofit. Over 40 committed volunteers transport, encourage, check on, and support members and each other. Judie routinely contacts members, meets city officials and serves on committees. She collaborates on grant applications, writes bimonthly newspaper columns, and encourages members, volunteers and board members through her reflective input. She does all of this with one hand; the other is always raised yet again to volunteer in support of the community.

Judie is an influencer. She brings structure and inclusion to community dialogue. Her background includes strong research skills which she uses to enrich dialogue and seed best practice concepts that serve to strengthen and grow the localized efforts at every stage of development. Her “can do” attitude and positive perspective serve as a model for those who joyfully join her in the passionate work of building community.

-Bio written and provided by Linda Chandler, Outreach Chair, Carquinez Village

If you’re interested in helping this organization, Carquinez Village’s Annual Live Auction Fundraising Event will be held on Sunday, October 17th  at 5pm at “Landmark Sixteen,” 135 J Street, Benicia. There will be a live and silent auction, music, drinks, nibbles, and fun. Reserve your tickets by calling 707.297.2472 or going to