1947 - 2020
REES Susan Elizabeth Rees On Saturday February 1, 2020, longtime DC resident and social justice advocate Susan Rees died peacefully at home. Born on February 3, 1947 in Quincy, IL, she graduated from Quincy-Notre Dame High School in 1965 and received a BA in Journalism from Marquette U. in 1969. Susan returned to Quincy to care for family and for work as a reporter for the Quincy Herald-Whig until 1976, when she enrolled in the master's program in urban planning at University of Illinois at Urbana. After receiving her MA in 1979, Susan desired to make a difference at the national level and moved to DC to assume a policy position with Nat. Assn of Social Workers. In 1983, Susan was appointed Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs, the leading national alliance of national, state and local advocacy on federal urban, health, educa-tion, labor and housing programs. There she produced the bi-weekly Human Needs Report and the seminal study of How the Poor Would Remedy Poverty. In 1991, Susan steppeddown from the CHN to focus on research and writing on social justice and the non-profit sector, for organizations including the Rockefeller Foundation, Center for Community Change and the Aspen Institute, the latter for which she authored Effective Nonprofit Advocacy in 1998. She later served in senior policy leadership positions at the McAuley Institute and Wider Opportunities for Women. Upon her retirement in 2013, Susan was honored as the Public Policy Advocate of the Year by the National Alliance of Partnerships in Equity for her dedication to advancing women's initiatives and reversing poverty for low-income families. Susan approached her work with integrity and determination, interwoven with humor and love of the relationship-building that all successful advocacy efforts demand. In her retirement, she approached her volunteer service on the board of the Mt. Pleasant Village and her lifelong passion for golf exactly the same. Susan cherished her family and many dear friends from across the years and is survived by her wife and partner of 29 years, Mary R. (Polly) (Donaldson, daughter, Florence X.R. Donaldson, sisters, Jane G. Rees and Mary Kay (Roger) Reckers and niece, Frances M. Reckers of Oak Park, IL, and beloved cousins and friends. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday February 29, 2020 at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, 1830 Connecticut Ave, NW. In lieu of flowers, donations in Susan's memory and to continue the fight for justice can be made to the Coalition on Human Needs, 1825 K St. NW, Suite 411, Washington, DC 20006,
Published by The Washington Post on Feb. 23, 2020.
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Memorial service
St. Margaret's Episcopal Church
1830 Connecticut Ave,, DC
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9 Entries
Polly and family, I am so sorry about your loss. Susan was an amazing trailblazer and role model. Hoping you are finding comfort in warm memories.
Nechama Masliansky
April 24, 2020
Dear Polly and Flo,
May you be comforted at this time by the love of friends and family and Susan's legacy of good works. I didn't know Susan personally, but reading about her commitment to helping others is inspiring. She was a true blessing.
Joan McKenzie
March 4, 2020
We extend our Sympathy to Susan's family.
Rich & Claudia Rees
February 28, 2020
a loved one
February 26, 2020
Such a wonderful, caring, joyful and full of song friend for 30+ years. I will miss you and our many evenings and sing-a-longs. Rest in peace my friend. Love, Mimi
Mary Moorhouse
February 24, 2020
My thoughts are with you and hope you're also taking care of yourself in this difficult time.

Eric Enderlin
February 24, 2020
Daniel Cardinali
February 24, 2020
Polly, thinking of you and Susan hoping you have extra strength right now.
Louise Carroll
February 24, 2020
Susan Rees should be remembered and celebrated as a builder - of coalitions and campaigns to advance economic and social justice. She worked to end poverty, but even more, she offered unique support so that work would strengthen and endure. All of us at the Coalition on Human Needs could not be more grateful for her generous spirit. Wishing Polly and all of Susan's family and friends comfort and peace.
Deborah Weinstein
February 24, 2020
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