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Dora D. Robinson has served as a non-profit leader and practitioner for more than 35 years.   She recently retired from the United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) after serving for more than 8 year as President and CEO of this 95-year-old organization. She has the distinction of being the first women to serve in that capacity. Prior to joining UWPV, Dora served as the first full-time President & CEO of MLK, Jr. Family Services (formerly known as the MLK, Jr. Community Center) for 19 years.

The foundation for these high level executive leadership roles is based on previous experiences as Corporate Director & Vice President of Child and Family Services at the Center for Human Development and Vice President of Education at the Urban League of Springfield. Dora’s earlier professional experiences included social work with adolescents and families, community outreach and program planning and management. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at Springfield College School for Social Work and the School for Professional Studies.

Dora has occupied several State, regional and national leadership roles throughout her professional career. For example, she has served on the Springfield Chamber Board of Directors, Boston Federal Reserve Community Advisory Council, MA. Providers Council Board of Trustee, National President’s Council of United Way Worldwide and the Board of Trustees at Springfield Technical Community College. She is also an active member of NCCJ Board of Directors and is a founding member of the Healing Racism Institute of Western Massachusetts and serves on the Steering Committee.

Dora holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University and completed graduate studies at Smith College and earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. She was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate from Bay Path University and a President’s Medallion from Western New England University.

Dora resides in Springfield, MA with her life partner, Frank P. Robinson and is the proud mother and grandmother of a daughter and two wonderful grandchildren.

Click here to listen to an incredible WBUR interview, where Dora shares her insights and wisdom about what she calls her Liberation Collection.

For One Springfield Woman, A Complicated Desire To Preserve Racist Emblems

Excerpt: The Liberation Collection

“Robinson is retired and grew up during the civil rights era. She’s devoted much of her life to social and racial justice, serving on the boards of numerous organizations throughout the Pioneer Valley, including the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts and the Healing Racism Institute.

She’s filled her home with a vast range of artwork celebrating black beauty and human dignity. She has also collected a group of dolls and figures which tell a more harrowing story — not only of beauty, but of subjugation.

Robinson calls this her Liberation Collection. At the center stands the cast-iron doorstop she found in upstate New York, because no figure sums up the complex and insidious role of racial stereotypes quite like Aunt Jemima.” — Ben James, NEPR.

This story comes via the New England News Collaborative and was first published by NEPR.

This segment aired on January 15, 2018.