Donna Waites, Vice President of Programs

2711 Middleburg Drive, Suite 115
Columbia, South Carolina  29204
803.254.0230,  extension 12


Donna Waites oversees all staff who manage grants, DEI, public policy and advocacy. She is intricately involved in staff leadership development and training, and she shares leadership over communications and strategic planning with the Foundation’s President.

Donna began working in the nonprofit sector with the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine in 2000 as the first fund development staff person for Healthy Learners. Later, she helped build the Providence Hospitals Development Foundation and served as their Director of Philanthropy. She joined Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina in early 2015.

Donna’s passion for creating positive change, especially in small towns and rural areas, began early growing up in rural Cherokee County. She strongly believes that with equitable resources and inclusive support, the families and individuals living in poverty in our state can and do experience positive life changes. As Vice President of Programs for Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, Donna regularly meets people doing great work all over the state who meet the needs of families and individuals experiencing poverty and help them to break the cycle of poverty that, many times, is generations deep.

Donna received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. Later, she received her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Columbia College. Donna earned her Certificate in Finance Essentials through Duke University, and is a graduate of the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations Change Leadership in Philanthropy Fellowship. She has been married for 19 years to her husband, Craig, and they have two children, Annie and Rebecca. In her spare time, you will find Donna running carpools to sports practices, attending her girls’ cheer competitions, soccer and basketball games, and walking her golden retrievers, Charlie and Sandy.


“Too many people think that finding the reason God placed us here on earth will come in one assignment with a big title and complete job description. I believe that discovering our purpose will unfold slowly, like a seed planted deep in the ground.” – Lysa TerKeurst, Christian author, speaker, and blogger

  • M.A. in Organizational Leadership (Columbia College, Columbia, SC)
  • B.A. in Journalism (University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC)
  • Certificate in Finance Essentials, Office of Continuing Education, Duke University
  • Certificate in Fundraising Principles and Techniques, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
  • Downtown Church, Elder
  • Hammond School, team mom, Moms In Touch Prayer Group leader, former Parent Ambassador, homeroom parent, and event volunteer
  • Advisory Board, South Carolina Humanities
  • Junior League of Columbia, Sustaining Member
  • Organization Change and Leadership Student of the Year, Columbia College, 2016
  • 2019-2020 Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Change Leadership in Philanthropy Fellow