Utah Business

Honoree 4/20

Donna MacBean has been called the “Mother Theresa of Southern Utah” for a reason.

Donna MacBean | 2023 Women of the Year

Donna MacBean has been called the “Mother Theresa of Southern Utah” for a reason.

Founder & Executive Director | Neighborhood Connection

Donna MacBean has been called the “Mother Theresa of Southern Utah” for a reason. Her philanthropic resume boasts decades of experience with dozens of organizations, including the Utah Nonprofits Association, Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah, the St. George Dixie Elks Lodge and countless others.

Currently, MacBean is a member and Dixie Sunshiner of the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce, is on the board of the Hurricane Valley Chamber of Commerce, and is the founder and executive director of Neighborhood Connection, a nonprofit dedicated to providing weekend meals for children. 

“Between kindergarten and grade 12 in Washington County, there are 17,000 students that live with food insecurity,” she says. MacBean was originally introduced to this problem at a gala while speaking to other guests who were passionate about the cause. The overwhelming number of children in need initiated MacBean’s and her friends’ efforts to start the foundation, and to date, those statistics still fuel her dedication every day. “If you realized how hard it might be [to do this kind of work] ahead of time, you might not do it,” she implores. “You have to have a passion for it.” 

Before dedicating the latter half of her career to philanthropy, MacBean made a name for herself as an entrepreneur, managing multiple shopping centers, an auctioneering firm, two service stations and a fly-in fishing lodge before founding Housecleaning by Donna, a residential and commercial janitorial services company in Southern Utah. But giving back has always been second nature: MacBean reminisces about her childhood and how her parents made giving back a priority no matter what. “It’s what we did,” she says. 

For over a decade, she participated in a group that purchased and cooked food for people experiencing homelessness. Today, she helps host Christmas Day event where she and over 100 volunteers serve food and organize entertainment for those in need. MacBean also hosts annual golf tournament fundraisers to help fund her efforts at Neighborhood Connection, which she runs out of her garage.

When asked about how she manages to get everything done, MacBean cites her boundless energy. “I’m 73 years old, but I still have an 18-year-old inside of me,” she says. “I couldn’t do this without great people around; I have the best people around me.”

Connect with Donna MacBean on LinkedIn.