Our people

The Jonas Philanthropies Board and Staff connect some of the country’s most prominent advocates for healthcare investment with leaders, innovators and experts from the worlds of business, philanthropy and education. Together, they are turning their passion for improving healthcare into tangible results where it matters most.

Our board

Donald Jonas, FAAN(h), FAANP(h) Founder and President, Jonas Philanthropies

Donald Jonas is an Honorary Trustee of the Horace Mann School and a former member of numerous boards, including Cancer Care, Inc.; the American Jewish Congress; the Guggenheim Museum Business Board; and the KIPP Academy Charter School in the Bronx, New York.

Mr. Jonas was Founder and Chairman of the Barbara Lynn retail stores and its successor company, Belscott Retailers. He was a co-founder of the Lechters Housewares retail chain, serving as its chairman from 1973 until he retired in 2001, and was a board member of the apparel retail chain Dress Barn.

Mr. Jonas was born in New York City, attended the Horace Mann School and subsequently served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Frontier Nursing University. Mr. Jonas and his wife Barbara have two children, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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Barbara Jonas, MSW, FAAN(h), FAANP(h) Founder and Director, Jonas Philanthropies

Barbara Jonas is a member of the Columbia Presbyterian Health Sciences Advisory Council, and was previously Vice Chairman of the Community Services Board of the New York City Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Alcoholism Services. From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Jonas was a Member of the Institutional Review Board of New York University Medical Center. In 1992, she established the Barbara Jonas Centers for the Study and Treatment of Children at Risk at the Departments of Psychiatry at New York University and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centers.

Ms. Jonas is a Trustee Emeritus of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and is a current member of the Guggenheim’s Art and Museum Committee. She is also a former board member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Foundation.

Ms. Jonas graduated from the High School of Performing Arts and Sarah Lawrence College, earned her MSW from Yeshiva University, and was a practicing psychotherapist. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Frontier Nursing University.

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John Jonas Founder and CEO, The Jonas Group and Treasurer and Director, Jonas Philanthropies

John Jonas is the Founder and CEO of The Jonas Group, a leading retained executive search firm that specializes in retail and wholesale fashion, and is the number-one search firm for the footwear industry.

A prominent and active member of the Advisory Board of Jonas Philanthropies since its inception, John has been a key player in the growth and development of the organization over the last 10 years. In addition, John is actively involved on the Board of Directors of Hands In For Youth / Vacamas Programs for Youth, a non-profit camp for children from inner city areas throughout the Greater New York and New Jersey areas.

John is the son of Barbara and Donald Jonas. He received his BA from Brown University, and is a passionate art collector and tennis player.

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Lendri S. Purcell, MA Vice President, Jonas Philanthropies and Founder, FACTS (Families Advocating for Chemical and Toxics Safety)

Lendri Purcell uses her skills as a children’s rights advocate, a community organizer and a seasoned funder to drive the work of the Jonas Program for Children’s Environmental Health.

In response to learning through a routine blood test that her baby had an elevated lead level, Ms. Purcell embarked on a quest to find the source of that exposure. In the process, she uncovered numerous common toxic chemicals in her own home — and in the lives of all American children. Ms. Purcell has spent the last six years immersing herself in the latest academic research addressing the damaging physiological ramifications of in-utero and early childhood exposures to toxic chemicals. She has discovered that, as a result of the abundance of toxics they come into contact with daily through food, water air, toys etc., the physical and cognitive health of children in this country and their learning potential is suffering greatly.

Ms. Purcell began formally advocating for children while participating in the renowned teacher training and leadership program, Teach for America. While teaching children with special learning and emotional challenges in an under-resourced school, she earned a Masters’ in Learning and Instruction and advanced certifications in educational therapy and childhood trauma. In addition to teaching, Ms. Purcell created enrichment programs to address obstacles to student learning outside of the classroom, including an outdoor education program.

Ms. Purcell’s desire to impact more children led her to work as a case manager, community schools’ coordinator, community organizer and a foundation program officer for Price Charities. While working in those capacities, she also spearheaded the Jonas Youth Development Initiative. In over 10 years, the program disbursed close to three million dollars through almost 100 grants — supporting mentoring, school-to-career training programs and mental health support for well over eight-thousand highly at-risk San Francisco East Bay youth. This grant-making program was especially unique in that Lendri created a youth advisory board reflective of the community to help recommend grants.

In addition to funding many innovative, award-winning programs that got their start with Jonas seed funding, Ms. Purcell spearheaded initiatives to increase investments in East Bay youth and to strengthen the youth development community by increasing collaboration and coordination. She founded the Oakland Youth-Friendly Business Awards, a model program that has been replicated outside the East Bay to promote business engagement in the youth development sector. She also founded the East Bay Youth Ally Alliance, an active program that coordinates and enhances youth development efforts through trainings, coaching, special events and social media tools.

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Adam Purcell Founder and CEO, Esoteric Distribution and PPC Print and Design and Director, Jonas Philanthropies

Adam Purcell is Founder and CEO of Esoteric Distribution and PPC Print and Design. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a major in Political Science.

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