Polly Donaldson has served as the Director of the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) since January 2, 2015. As Director, she oversees 180+ employees, 14 program areas and manages an annual operating budget of over $250 million to preserve and produce rental and homeownership opportunities for District residents and leading the charge of revitalizing underserved neighborhoods across DC.
Since 2015, Donaldson has led the implementation of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s housing strategy, which has doubled the annual commitment to the Housing Production Trust Fund to over $100 million and created a twin $100 million-plus Housing Preservation Fund, which leverages $30 million of District funds with $90 million of private capital. Since 2015, the District has produced over 9,500 units of affordable housing with another 9,000 under construction or in the pipeline and has preserved over 1200 units of existing affordable housing.
Donaldson’s nonprofit career spans over 32 years, with senior management experience in homeless services, affordable housing and international community development. Prior to joining DHCD, Donaldson served as the Executive Director of the Transitional Housing Corporation (THC) for 11 years and THC Affordable Housing, Inc., since its founding in June 2005. Under Donaldson’s leadership, THC was on the front lines addressing the city’s housing crunch, working with churches, charities and other nonprofit groups to produce and support affordable units for the formerly homeless.
Donaldson currently serves as co-chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Housing Directors Advisory Committee. She serves as DC’s representative to the High-Cost Cities Housing Forum which brings together the local housing commissioners and directors from nine of the most expensive cities in the United States to discuss housing policy and program ideas and exchange best practices. Donaldson is the former board president of the DC Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, an umbrella group of affordable housing developers. In 2012, she also served on the Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force assembled by former Mayor Gray. In 2014, Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser named Donaldson as the co-chair of the Transition Team’s Affordable Housing Committee. In 2015-2016, Donaldson served as the chair of Mayor Bowser’s Affordable Housing Preservation Strike Force.
Donaldson has lived in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood in Ward 1 for over 28 years. In the late 1990s, she was elected and served as the chair of the Mt. Pleasant Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1-E. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral science from The Johns Hopkins University.