Executive director of Area Agency on Aging retires

Don Smith

United Way of Tarrant County has announced the retirement of Donald R. Smith, executive director of the Area Agency on Aging and vice president, Community Investment effective May 7.

Smith, who has been with the Area Agency on Aging for 16 years, was instrumental in acquiring numerous discretionary grants from the U.S. Administration on Aging and other federal agencies to implement a wide range of innovative community-based initiatives across Texas.

“Don is a nationally respected expert in his field, and his work and achievements are unmatched,” said Leah M. King, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “He is a tireless advocate for older adults, and his commitment to their unique needs made significant and lasting differences in the lives of countless individuals in the Tarrant County community. We will miss him greatly.”

Much of Smith’s work was devoted to preventing falls and building dementia-capable systems. While managing the United Way Health portfolio, he led the 10-year cross-sector Healthy Aging and Independent Living initiative that featured a diverse array of evidence-based programs that touched more than 50,000 lives.

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During his tenure at the Area Agency on Aging and United Way of Tarrant County, Smith administered a $5.9 million Marketplace Navigator grant, which was the largest in the United States.

He also administered the second-largest Marketplace Navigator grant of $4.8 million, which covered 95% of Texas. He received the Top Innovation Award for the REACH II evidence-based caregiver education program from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging in 2015 and was awarded highly competitive U.S. Administration for Community Living grants for Dementia, Falls and Chronic Disease and a Health Resources & Services Administration Geriatric Workforce (WEHAIL) grant.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve in this position and to work with such a dedicated and passionate team of professionals for 16 years,” Smith said. “I am grateful that we had the opportunity to develop several innovative and groundbreaking programs that have had an impact in Tarrant County and beyond.”

Smith also developed advocacy strategies while serving as Chair of National Association of Area Agencies on Aging Public Policy Committee, which significantly increased nationwide funding for older adults and their caregivers.

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Smith’s career spanned 36 years. During this time, he worked for health, human service and governmental organizations throughout Texas, including four area agencies on aging. He served on the Board of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging in various leadership capacities and was a founding member of the National Evidence Based Leadership Council. He is a member of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging’s Alliance to Improve Dementia Care and President of Texas Healthy at Home, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the divide between health care and community services.