Founder, Donna L. Mengel
Donna Mengel has dedicated most of her life to serving her Lord and her community. For more than 20 years, Ms. Mengel has provided safe, attractive and affordable homes for adults with mental and physical disabilities through the Lamb Foundation, which she founded in 1987.
In addition to being an accomplished and tireless advocate for the rights of mentally and physically disabled adults to live in private homes in the community (as opposed to institutional government homes), Donna Mengel is an engaging and persuasive speaker in a wide variety of arenas, including:
- Her church, Family Worship Center in Lansdale, Pa., where she teaches a large adult class each semester, and serves on the Church School Board. Ms. Mengel was previously the Principal of Lansdale Christian Academy of the Church of the Nazarene.
- The North Penn School District, where she serves as the current treasurer.
- The North Penn School Board, where she was elected to Pennsylvania’s fourth largest school district for 12 years, and served as President of the Board for 8 years.
- Her town government, where she served as elected councilwoman for 6 years (2 as Vice President) and currently serves as elected Republican Committeewoman and as the contract negotiator for the North Wales Police Department.
- The Montgomery County Board of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, where she served as a board member for 4 years. She also served in Montgomery County positions on the Women’ s Commission from 1993 to 1997, and the Chairman of the Housing Committee from 1993 to 1995.
Donna Mengel and her husband, attorney Daniel H. O’Connell, Sr., live in North Wales, Pennsylvania, with their 14 children, ages 6 to 35: Robert, Brick, Dane, Fawn, Daniel, Jr., Ammah, Yayou, Maude, Bruin, Blue, Blessing, Felecia, Amogeshe, and Joseph, seven of whom were adopted from Liberia, three adopted within the U.S., and four biological. Ms. Mengel graduated from Temple University, summa cum laude as a President’s Scholar. In 1987 she began her housing program for disabled adults by taking three disabled homeless women into her large family home. From this modest start, Ms. Mengel has built Lamb Foundation into a substantial tax-exempt program which acquires, furnishes and now operates over 66 homes for more than 200 senior citizens and disabled adults who need supportive living arrangements.
The Lamb Foundation does not seek or accept government funding or government contracts for its housing program. The homes are non-institutional in appearance and operation. Each home functions like a family, allowing the residents as much independence as possible. Through its efficiency and compassionate care-giving, Lamb Foundation has become the largest private provider of homes for disabled adults in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
The challenges of operating the Lamb Foundation and establishing homes for residents with physical and mental disabilities provide wonderfully entertaining and inspiring stories, which Ms. Mengel can relate with a unique blend of humor, practical realism and the comforting certainty of divine protection and direction. Her passion is to witness the hundreds of changed lives that were made possible by the safety and security of homes provided by the Lamb Foundation program to adults who are physically and mentally disabled. Ms. Mengel speaks on a variety of topics to church groups, civic groups, and college audiences. A small sampling of the topics she has presented in the past include, but are not limited to:
- Obstacles in Housing the Mentally Ill
- Humor – A Necessary Tool for a Housing Ministry
- Local Politics and Zoning issues in Housing the Disabled
- Protecting your Organization from the Community Disruptive Resident
- Missionary or Mercenary in the Housing Ministry
- Structuring your Housing Ministry without Government Dependency
- Working Alongside like Government Agencies while Remaining Private
- Creating Viable Living Options in your Local Community and County
- Entrepreneurial Fundraising
- Fostering Organization and Church Relationships
- Providing and Encouraging Access to Worship and Spiritual Growth in your Organization
- Avoiding Landlord/Tenant issues in a Residential Program
Donna runs the Lamb Foundation with the help of an 11-member advisory board made up of men and women from local organizations.
Not only is Donna actively involved with The Lamb Foundation, she serves the community and local businesses. In January, 2010, The North Wales Borough Council appointed Donna to a 5-year term as assistant secretary and treasurer on the Board of Directors for The North Wales Water Authority.
To contact Donna Mengel, write to Lamb Foundation, 114 North Main Street, North Wales, PA 19454, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.