Interested in starting your own journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Carolyn Jenkins, Executive Director of Jenkins Donelson Foundation, located in Stafford, VA, USA.

What's your organization, and who are your members?

The Jenkins Donelson Foundation (JDF) promotes foot health and healthy lifestyles for the underserved. We sponsor interactive Health Fairs and Shoe Giveaways, as well as Community Giveaways. We operate solely through volunteer efforts.

Tell us about yourself

My mom was diabetic and taught me the importance of foot health. After breaking my pinky toe twice in 2015, I established National I LOVE My Feet Day, celebrated internationally annually, on August 17. My hope in creating this special day serves as an incentive for everyone to appreciate how important our feet are to our daily lives and our general health. Doing something extra special for our feet on August 17 is the beginning of good foot health and reinforces the importance of foot health for those who already invest in their foot health. I also created a website,, which provides foot health information; however, I found the people who needed help the most, the underserved, needed more assistance. This led me to create The JDF in 2016.

What's your biggest accomplishment as an organization?

We began partnering with the largest retailer in the country in the summer of 2019, which allowed us to pick up unsalable and overstock merchandise. This partnership enabled us to give away more than $500K in merchandise to those in need during the pandemic and lockdown between March 2020- May 2022. The school supplies, clothes, bikes, toys, household goods, and personal products during this desperate time in the world helped relieve financial and mental stress for thousands of people in need.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being an organization?

  • Not having enough assistance and resources to meet our mission is our biggest challenge. Our organization operates solely through volunteer efforts. If we received consistent donations, we could hire employees and help more people. We have volunteers who work their hearts out, but we try not to want to wear them out, so we have to balance our resources carefully.
  • Balancing our goals based on the assistance we have.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow an organization today?

  1. Would you do it for free? If the answer is yes, then follow your dream and open your business because there is a very good chance you will not receive compensation for your efforts.
  2. Make certain you can put in the time that will be required to follow your dream.
  3. Make certain you have a strong support system to step in and help you.

Where can people find you and your group?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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