Commitment to Community

Donahoo & McMenamy’s history is not only in the legal profession, but also in the community it serves. The following are just a few examples of the impact that firm founder John W. Donahoo and current shareholders Thomas M. Donahoo (Tom), William B. McMenamy (Bill) and Thomas M. Donahoo, Jr. (Tommy) have had on Northeast Florida over the years.

Helping to create a Jacksonville landmark

A trusted estate planning advisor to the Cummer family, John W. Donahoo was asked by the family to serve as the first chairman of the board of directors of the DeEtte Holden Cummer Museum Foundation. Established soon after Ninah Cummer’s death in 1958, the Foundation was named to honor her and her husband’s only child, who died soon after birth.

In line with Mrs. Cummer’s wishes to create an art museum, Mr. Donahoo oversaw the razing of the Cummer residence at 829 Riverside Avenue and the construction of a new facility. Acting as more of an architect than an attorney, he toured museums throughout New York and Paris for design ideas. In November 1961, at a cost of $1 million, the new Cummer Gallery of Art, now known as The Cummer Gallery of Arts and Gardens, termed “the jewel of museums,” was dedicated in front of 1,000 guests and foundation trustees.

Entrusted with Mrs. Cummer’s personal collection and philanthropic intent, John Donahoo and the foundation fulfilled what she had written in her will: “This foundation is created in the full knowledge the bequest and endowment will make only a small beginning toward a large vision, but it is created also in the hope that others will share this vision and by their interest and contributions will help to establish a center of beauty and culture worthy of this community.”

Today, Mrs. Cummer’s original 60-piece collection has grown to more than 5,000 works and 1.5 acres of historic gardens, enjoyed by thousands annually. Please visit http://www.cummer.org.

Answering the call for education

In 1970, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church looked to establish a non-profit Christian school. The purpose of the school, located on church grounds, was to provide children, grades one through six, with the finest quality education and citizenship training. Thomas M. Donahoo was one of the founders and Trustees of the school, and under their guidance St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School opened in September of that year, with just one class for each grade, one through six. Please visit http://www.stmarksdayschool.org/.

Now, with more than 400 students on the nearly six-acre campus, St. Mark’s stated philosophy is dedication to excellence in education, and to prepare students “to reach their academic, social, and spiritual potential while recognizing each student’s individuality in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.” Tom has remained involved with the school over the years.

Having Jacksonville shine in the national spotlight

In 2006, the City of Jacksonville hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Bill McMenamy, along with other volunteers from the Jacksonville community, assisted in the organization and running of this event, one of the most popular sporting events in the country. The 2006 event was such a success, that the NCAA chose Jacksonville again as a host site in 2010. A former high school and junior college basketball player himself, Bill was thrilled to again serve on the committee for the 2010 event. The event favorably impacts the city in many ways and enhances Jacksonville’s reputation as a great sports city. It is Bill’s hope that Jacksonville will continue to reap the benefits of hosting this event on a regular basis.

Bringing a community together for a cause

An important cause in Tommy Donahoo’s life, both personally and in the community, has been the establishment of the JT Townsend Trust. JT Townsend was a gifted athlete at Episcopal School of Jacksonville. In 2005, he was seriously injured in a football game. The outpouring of generosity from the community was so incredible that a trust was established for JT’s long-term benefit and care. Due to the Donahoo family’s long relationship with Episcopal, Tommy and the firm were asked to assist with the trust planning. Tommy and a small group of trustees, over the years have assisted JT by providing a home, events and a support network.

Still today, JT has an impact on Tommy’s life. “JT faced a truly life-altering event. Some very generous people have supported him by making it possible to create a trust that helps pay his bills,” says Tommy. “Through some very hard work by many the trust has been a real source of support for him. However, as is often the case, ‘when you give a little, you gain so much more in return,” as JT has become even more of a blessing in my life.”

Now, through JT’s leadership, the firm has helped establish a foundation for the purpose of helping others with similar injuries. Please visit www.jttownsendfoundation.org.