2020 Sandra K. McDonough Leadership Award: Kay D. Toran



2020 Sandra K. McDonough Leadership Award: Kay D. Toran

This year’s recipient of the Sandra K. McDonough Leadership Award is Kay D. Toran, President & CEO of Volunteers of America Oregon (VOA Oregon). For twenty years, Kay has led VOA Oregon, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to broad-based human services, providing programs designed to improve the lives of children, families and seniors.

Kay graduated from the University of Portland with a BA in Sociology/Psychology, soon married and moved to Wertheim, Germany to join her husband. After returning to Portland, she began her career that included earning an MSW from the School of Social Work – Portland State University and later being hired as an Assistant Professor of Social Work – Portland State University.

Kay has served in several management positions for the State of Oregon during her ascent up the career ladder including more than six years as the Director of Oregon’s Child Welfare agency and more than seven years as the Director of Oregon’s Affirmative Action Office under Governor Vic Atiyeh.

Kay was raised in Portland’s predominantly African American community, one of four children of Ben and Mary Rose Dean—successful entrepreneurs who relocated to the Northwest during the Great Migration. The Deans, as they are affectionately referred to even today, founded a small business, Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, which is still operated and owned by a member of the family and today is the oldest African American-owned business in the State of Oregon. Not only did they found the business, but they built the building on a then vacant lot, which was a huge accomplishment at the time given all the restrictions on loaning money to African Americans.

Kay currently serves on the Oregon Community Ministry board of directors, Providence Health and Services, the University of Portland board of regents, and the HereTogether board of directors.

She has received numerous honors recognizing her leadership, effectiveness and excellence serving those in our community. She has received an Honorary Doctorate Degree - University of Portland, Urban Pioneer Award - Portland State University, CEO of the Year for Non-Profits - Portland Business Journal, Ecumenist of the Year Award - Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Award for Excellence, State Management Association - State of Oregon, Vic Atiyeh Award for Excellence in Education - Concordia University and numerous other awards from other organizations. The Mayor of the City of Portland named a Day of Appreciation in her name for the significant contributions Kay has made to the community as a servant-leader and to those most vulnerable.

Kay is the mother of two adult children and the grandmother of three. She delights in saying that, “all that we do is on behalf of the children. They deserve our best!”