Honoring a sister to help girls of color
Jacqueline Dunbar, M.D., wanted to honor her sister and parents and ensure
that young women and girls of color are supported as they become scientists
or teachers or doctors or concert pianists. In 2014, she opened the Dunbar
Family Fund at the Westchester Community Foundation.
Dr. Dunbar had been a member of the Foundation’s board of advisors for
nearly a decade, and understood the important work the Foundation did for
women and girls. “I knew that the Foundation would ensure that my funds went
to reputable nonprofits who help young girls of color achieve their dreams,”
she says. “Because the staff does the investigating for me, I know I’m making
She was inspired by her sister Dorothy, who had dreamed of being a
professional pianist. When that dream was spoiled by illness, she became a
music and vocal teacher, and later earned her doctorate in education, rising to
become chair of the Mercy College Education Department.
Dr. Dunbar said of her sister, “She never asked why things couldn’t have been
different. She had such an upbeat attitude and positive approach that she never revealed her physical pain. She had a kind, encouraging word for every one around her. She had the temperament to teach.”
As for Dr. Dunbar, she started as a teacher, but decided to become a physician. She had a private
OB-GYN practice in White Plains for 28 years. Westchester is filled with people she delivered as babies.
“I want to honor Dorothy’s memory and thank my parents for their love and guidance,” she said. The
fund is specifically for minority girls and women seeking careers in math, science, education, or the
arts. “My sister and I were once those girls, with our own individual interests and barriers to education.
I want to make sure others have a helping hand.”