History

The Adoption Institute was established in 1996 by the Board of Spence­-Chapin Services to Families and Children (now Spence-­Chapin), which identified the need for an independent and objective adoption research and policy organization that addressed the needs of all those touched by adoption – first/birth parents, adoptees and adoptive parents.

In 1997, the Institute was named in honor of Evan B. Donaldson, a member of the Spence­-Chapin Board of Directors for nearly 20 years, serving as president from 1986 until her death in 1994. Evan worked tirelessly to make the Institute a reality, in addition to devoting herself to ensuring that infants and children were placed in permanent, loving families.

To reflect the commitment and generosity of the entire Donaldson family, we became the Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) in 2012. Bill, his wife Jane, and children, Kim and Matthew, have dedicated their time and talents to DAI through service on the Board of Directors and leadership for fundraising events.

To drive DAI’s strategic direction and growth, April Dinwoodie was appointed to the newly created position of Chief Executive in October 2013.  April had been a member of the Institute’s Board since 2010.  Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Institute since 2002, and now President, continues to create and execute DAI’s research, policy and advocacy initiatives. Dinwoodie’s primary responsibilities are operations, communications and development; she brings a wealth of experience with adoption and foster care issues, as well as marketing expertise, to the Institute. “As an adoptee, taking on this new leadership role at DAI is an honor and deeply personal,” said Dinwoodie.

To learn more about DAI’s impact on policy, practice and education over its nearly twenty years, visit Impact.