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March 22, 2018
#WomensWork Feature: Donna Taggart
Written by Kate Racculia
Get involved in your community. It’s as simple as that, and it’s what Donna Taggart does every day. She’s the president of Taggart Associates, a community and economic development consulting firm located in the heart of the SouthSide historic district. Offering real estate development project management, community relations and non-profit management services, Taggart Associates is committed to helping communities reach their potential.
Taggart has been both a witness to the SouthSide’s revitalization—“seeing the redevelopment of the former Bethlehem Steel property was very important to me”—and a catalyst. Taggart Associates was originally founded by her husband primarily as a transportation planning firm. After a career in public and non-profit economic development, she joined the company 11 years ago, specifically to assist the Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s community outreach efforts. She refers to her work with the Sands as among the most rewarding experiences of her career. “I can see that it is really making a difference,” she says. “[Sands’] support has strengthened many SouthSide Bethlehem non-profits, allowing them to focus on their missions.”
She’d love to keep those missions flourishing by connecting even more local corporations and institutions to agencies in need. The firm has a broad network of contacts for community outreach, and a deep desire to make an impact. Taggart cites the fight against poverty in our community as a primary passion. “It’s such a complicated topic,” she says, “and so much still needs to be done that progress can be slow.” She’s a part of that progress, and would like to help others in her hometown be a part of it too.
She’s inspired by women leading in the community, especially Sonia Vazquez, principal of Donegan Elementary School. “Sonia is one of the most focused women I know,” she says. “She is making a difference at the most basic level—improving the lives of at-risk children. She helped me to understand how complicated it is to teach in an urban school where a high percentage of the children live in poverty. And she works tirelessly to get the resources her children need to succeed.”
Change happens, Taggart advises, by staying the course. “Don’t get discouraged with the twists and turns in the road.” And, crucially: connect. “The networks you build can only help you both personally and with your work. Take the time to mentor other younger women,” she says. “Mentoring is how we build future leaders.”