Foundation announces new executive director

Donny MacKenzie

The Florida Bar Foundation Board of Directors has selected Dominic C. “Donny” MacKenzie as its Executive Director effective August 20, 2018. The Foundation is a statewide charitable organization whose mission is to provide greater access to justice.

MacKenzie was selected after a competitive nationwide search process facilitated by Young Mayden Legal Search.

After serving on the Foundation’s Board of Directors for eight years, MacKenzie took office as its president in 2015-16. He has served on the Foundation’s Legal Assistance for the Poor, Law Student Assistance, Grants, Interest on Trust Account Operations, Development, Strategic Reset, and Executive Committees.

“Donny’s deep commitment to increasing access to justice and his proven effectiveness as a leader make him the obvious choice to manage the Foundation in its ambitious goals to expand its role as an expert facilitator of civil legal assistance and to serve as a catalyst for systemic change,” said Juliette E. Lippman, Foundation president-elect. “The Foundation is thrilled to have Donny.”

MacKenzie obtained his bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida State University and earned his law degree from the Florida State University College of Law. After practicing in Fort Lauderdale from 1987 to 1993, Donny moved back to his hometown of Jacksonville and joined Holland & Knight in 1993. His practice specialized in medical and professional malpractice defense, health care litigation, product liability, construction litigation and personal injury.

MacKenzie has shown a devotion to providing civil legal aid throughout his career, being Holland & Knight’s pro bono partner for Jacksonville and serving as a member of the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice since 2014 and co-founder of the Campaign to Maintain Justice in Jacksonville in 1995.

He was recognized by The Florida Bar with the President’s Pro Bono Award for the Fourth Judicial Circuit in 1998. Holland & Knight honored him as its Pro Bono MVP Partner in 2006, and he has been recognized by the firm as a Pro Bono All Star since 2005. He was recently recognized as the 2016 recipient of the Robert J. Beckham Equal Justice Award from Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA) and was also appointed as a board member for the Florida Justice Technology Center.

MacKenzie has served on various state and local bar committees, some of which include the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure Committee (chair 2002-2003), the Florida Code and Rules of Evidence Committee (chair 2008-2009), the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration Committee, Professionalism Committee, Florida Pro Bono Legal Services Committee (chair, Rules subcommittee), Florida Bar Grievance Committee for the Fourth Judicial Circuit “B” (chair 2014), and JALA’s Guardian Ad Litem and Pro Bono Committees. MacKenzie also served as chair of JALA’s Board of Directors from 1998 – 2000 and currently continues to serve on the JALA Foundation board of directors.

MacKenzie, 54, will lead The Florida Bar Foundation at a turning point in its history. In response to dwindling reserves due to near-zero bank interest rates, the Foundation has had to drastically reduce its funding of grants. Consequently, it undertook a five-year strategic reset in 2017 that uses a more targeted investment approach and increases the Foundation’s role as an expert leader and capacity builder. MacKenzie chaired the strategic reset committee.

“I am honored to be called as the next executive director for the Foundation,” MacKenzie said. “I look forward to working with the staff, board of directors and everyone who shares in the core mission of reducing the justice gap, increasing access to justice and working toward meaningful and impactful advances that broaden the reach of civil legal aid.”

He replaces Bruce B. Blackwell, who served as executive director of the Foundation from 2014 to 2018.