Bazelon Center For Mental Health Law Appoints New CEO

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Holly O’Donnell, CEO for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, a national legal advocacy organization advancing the rights of people with mental disabilities, today announced the appointment of Holly O’Donnell, as the organization’s new CEO.

“Holly’s experience in leadership, non-profit management, and fundraising, as well as her commitment to helping people with mental health challenges, offers the Bazelon Center the perfect complement of competence and passion,” said Maria Rodriguez, Bazelon Center’s board chair. “We look forward to seeing how as CEO she will extend the Center’s visibility with others who share our vision for inclusive communities.”

O’Donnell joins the Bazelon Center from America SCORES, a national youth development organization operating in urban public schools, where she served as the National Executive Director. Prior to America SCORES, O’Donnell served as the first leader of the After School Department for Pittsburgh Public Schools, overseeing all after school and mentoring programs and partnerships. Before that, she was Director of Career Learning at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation in Pittsburgh, PA, where she helped launch the organization’s Center for Career Learning, a national K-12 career education reform effort.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Bazelon Center,” said Holly O’Donnell, CEO for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. “Throughout my career, I've seen first-hand the importance of protecting the civil rights of people with mental and intellectual disabilities. The opportunity to serve as the new leader of the Bazelon Center and work with this board of directors and staff team is an honor and a true convergence of my professional experience and personal values.”

As Executive Director of DC SCORES, one of DC’s largest after school programs for 700 public school children, O’Donnell was honored by President George W. Bush for “Outstanding Service-Learning Opportunities,” the Washington Business Journal for “Exceptional Involvement of Corporate Volunteers,” Meyer Foundation for “Innovative Fundraising by an Executive Director,” and the DC Public Schools and Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers as a “Community Based Organization Partner of the Year.” Previous to DC SCORES, she was a Presidential Appointee to the Department of Education’s White House America Reads Challenge under President Clinton. O’Donnell received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University. She is a native Washingtonian and currently resides in the city with her husband and daughter.

About the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Since 1972, the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has advocated for the civil rights, full inclusion and equality of adults and children with mental disabilities. The Bazelon Center was pivotal in expanding the civil rights movement to include fighting discrimination against, and segregation of, people with mental disabilities. Today, the Bazelon Center accomplishes its goals through a combination of litigation, public policy advocacy, public education, and technical assistance.

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