PHR’s Executive Director to Step Down at the End of the Year

After a decade serving as Executive Director of Physicians for Human Rights, Donna McKay has announced that she will step down at the end of the year.

PHR Board Chair Alan Jones praised McKay’s contributions:

“We are saddened by Donna’s decision to leave PHR and will be forever grateful for her tireless service. Under her leadership, Physicians for Human Rights reversed a financial downturn, balanced its budget, diversified its funding, built its reserves, and expanded its programmatic work. Donna moved the organization’s headquarters from Boston to New York, expanded the Board of Directors, launched a world class Advisory Council, and vastly increased PHR’s network of supporters. The organization doubled its budget and secured a historic $9 million challenge grant from the Open Society Foundations. Most important, PHR developed programmatic work that contributed to successful landmark legal victories for justice and accountability for survivors of torture, sexual violence, and genocide.

“A few years ago, the President of the largest human rights foundation in the world referred to PHR as ‘an anchor organization in the international human rights world’. I believe that to be true and that there is no greater testament to Donna’s guidance than the enormous growth and impact PHR has experienced these past ten years.” 

On the contribution of the Board of Directors, McKay said: “I’ve had the incredibly good fortune to serve under four Board Chairs: Bob Lawrence, Deborah Ascheim, Kerry Sulkowicz and Alan Jones, and a phenomenal Board of Directors.”

McKay will work with PHR’s Board, leadership, and staff over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition. In January, Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Sime will assume the role of Interim Executive Director while the Board undertakes the search for a new Executive Director. “The Board has full confidence in Jennifer’s skills and experience which will be of enormous value in managing the organization through this transition period,” Jones said.

McKay said she remains committed to PHR’s mission and will support the organization in an advisory capacity after she officially steps down:

 “I have also been awed by so many of our staff who are smart, passionate, innovative, and hardworking, and by volunteers and donors who have given so generously and make our work possible.

“For me, PHR has been far more than a job. It’s been an opportunity to make meaningful contributions to a human rights movement that has been my life’s passion. The challenges the world faces are not easy ones. At the same time, the critical mission of this organization and our potential have never been greater.”

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