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Black Excellence Awards - Donell Morgan

Donell Morgan’s role as Executive Director at Elevate Oregon is the culmination of his entire life’s experiences.   


Born in New Orleans, Donell and his family moved to Tacoma where Donell and his brother could pursue education, success, and happiness. He grew up in the inner city, starting his basketball career in high school and continuing through college, which led him to playing basketball around the world.   


During his travels in Chile, Donell connected with a group of children. Despite speaking different languages, they became friends. His experience made him realize how connections can be made and relationships created even when you’re from different worlds.  


After retiring from basketball, he pursued his calling to help troubled youth in his communities. Donell worked first-hand with troubled youth at Echo Glen Children’s Center, a detention home where he helped young men & women piece their lives back together. When he learned what life looked like for these kids before reaching the detention center, he realized that his work was desperately needed directly in the community.  


Donell resigned from Echo Glen to coach basketball at Umpqua Community College, kick-starting his mentorship of young African American men. He became the first African American coach in Douglas County. For more than a decade he inspired his players and students to believe in themselves and their dreams.   


Donell was inspired to transition into the non-profit field in order to work with at-risk youth and families on a deeper level. He worked to open two Boys & Girls clubs in his hometown of Tacoma. Now, as Executive Director at Elevate Oregon, Donell continues to mentor students and build life-changing relationships.   


An energetic and engaging speaker with an MBA from Willamette University, Donell aims to inspire and develop the next generation of leaders who will transform communities and build a better future. His 5 years of service on the Oregon Department of Education’s African American/Black Student Success Advisory Committee is just one of the ways he works towards that aim. His ultimate goal is to give back to his community all that was given to him and more.  


In his free time Donell enjoys learning, cooking, and – never having given up his love of the game – coaching Parkrose High School’s Varsity basketball team for the last 7 years.  

Donell Morgan has a gift in uncovering and inspiring passion in others. Drawing from his own early life experiences and work with youth who were placed away from their families in detention homes, Donell has transformed his own passion for community and family into a huge gift for the Parkrose neighborhood. As Executive Director of Elevate Oregon, Donell guides the work of a talented group of mentors who are helping transform lives by encouraging youth to believe in themselves and their dreams. A world traveler and lifelong learner, Donell is an energetic and engaging speaker and also holds an MBA from Willamette University. He is a  5 year member of Oregon Department of Education’s African American/Black Student Success Advisory Committee, a foodie, and still loves basketball. He is a Varsity basketball coach at Parkrose High School, modeling exemplary life lessons!


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