Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Procter & Gamble Chairman brings track record of transforming the VA experience for veterans and their families to caregiver movement
Washington, D.C (December 7, 2023) — The Elizabeth Dole Foundation Board of Directors unanimously elected the Honorable Robert A. McDonald, eighth Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Secretary McDonald will officially assume the role on January 1, 2024. Senator Elizabeth Dole, who has chaired the board since she founded the organization in 2012, was named Founder and Chair Emeritus.
“Secretary McDonald has been a long-time friend and partner of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, and he was the ideal choice for our next Chairman,” said Senator Dole. “Throughout his years of exceptional leadership in both the public and private sectors, Secretary McDonald exhibited an unwavering commitment to those who serve in uniform, their caregivers, and their families.”
Secretary McDonald was with Procter & Gamble for 33 years, and in 2014, was nominated by President Barack Obama to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and was confirmed unanimously. At a time when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were coinciding with a wave of aging veterans seeking VA care, Secretary McDonald set out to modernize the department’s culture, processes, and capabilities. The Secretary also carried out the VA’s mission holistically, supporting veteran families, caregivers, and survivors. Under his leadership, the VA partnered with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to create the National Convening for Veteran Caregivers and established the basis for the largest expansion of caregiver benefits in history.
“I am honored to join an organization that has so markedly changed America’s awareness, appreciation, and support of the millions of hidden heroes caring for our service members and veterans at home,” said Secretary McDonald. “This Foundation is further evidence of Senator Dole’s courage to take on our nation’s toughest challenges and her compassion for all who serve. I feel privileged to follow her as Chairman, as the organization forges the next chapter of the national movement they have led so effectively.”
Secretary McDonald is a graduate of the United States Military Academy. In 2020, he was selected as the George W. Bush Institute’s April and Jay Graham Fellow, advocating for post-9/11 veterans and building awareness of the issues they face while transitioning to civilian life. Currently, he is also Chairman of the West Point Association of Graduates, furthering the values and ideals of the United States Military Academy.
About Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Hidden Heroes
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is the preeminent organization empowering, supporting, and honoring our nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers – the spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America’s wounded, ill, or injured veterans at home. Founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2012, the Foundation adopts a comprehensive approach in its support and advocacy, working with leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, and faith communities to recognize military caregivers’ service and promote their well-being. Learn more about the Elizabeth Dole Foundation at www.hiddenheroes.org.