Donyel B. Barber is a native of Gaston County, North Carolina. Donyel is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Hamrick Bratton. She attended Gaston County Public Schools and is a 1996 graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree.
Donyel served as a Child Protective Services worker in Gaston County for nearly 9 years where she conducted investigations of child abuse and neglect. From 2004 until March 2016, she served as the Executive Director of Family Promise of Gaston County (formally Gaston County Interfaith Hospitality Network, Inc.) which is a program dedicated to helping families in crisis and in homeless situations regain their independence and self-sufficiency. As director, she has helped numerous homeless families transition back into their own homes as well as prevented many under employed individuals from becoming homeless through the services she was able to provide.
Under her great leadership, Family Promise received Gaston Together’s 2006 Organizational Leadership Award. She was also one of 10 citizens in Gaston County to be named Family Advocate of the Year for 2005 and she received a medal for this honor. On March 7, 2016 Donyel accepted the call to become the new Community Centered Health Coordinator for Gaston Family Health Services, promoting community engagement, while identifying the social determinants leading to poor health in the community, in hopes to improve the overall health of the community.
Donyel has contributed to the betterment of Gaston County through various civic and social affiliations. She currently serves as a Board member for the following organizations: Diversified Business Professional Association, Gaston Regional Chamber, Gastonia Housing Authority, Warlick Family YMCA, and First Legacy Community Credit Union. She serves on the advisory committee for Leadership Gaston, and the Human Rights Committee for Holy Angels.
Donyel is a lifelong member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is Past President of the sorority’s Gastonia Alumnae Chapter and currently serves as Parliamentarian and Chair of EMBODI (Empowering Males to Build Opportunities to Develop Independence). She is a charter member of the Gastonia Piedmont Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and member of the Piedmont Chapter of The Links, Inc.
In 2012 Donyel received the “Community Service Award” from The Gastonia Las Amigas and the “Omega Citizen of the Year” from the Epsilon Upsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Donyel was named one of Mecklenburg Times “50 Most Influential Women” for 2013. She also received the 2014 Dr. Edward D. Sadler, Jr. Award from the United Way of Gaston County. In 2016 Donyel received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her commitment to a building a stronger nation through volunteer service from the President of the United States of America, President Barack Obama. Donyel was named the 2017 (non Elk) Citizen of the Year by the State of North Carolina Elks Convention. In January 2019 Donyel received the MLK Unity Award from the Gaston Clergy & Citizens Coalition. Now her name is listed on the MLK monument located on the campus of Gaston County Department of Human and Health Services. Most recently Donyel was awarded the Grassroots Political Engagement Award during the 2019 Communities Joined In Action Conference in Seattle Washington.
Donyel strongly believes that everyone deserves to be treated equally. Therefore, she strives to be intentional about promoting equity and opportunity for all people in the community in which she lives and serves!