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, www.chn.org
Published by The Washington Post on Feb. 23, 2020.