In Loving Memory: Chris-Tia Donaldson
It is with deep regret that we write to inform you that our founding president and dear friend, Chris-Tia Donaldson AB'00, JD'03, passed away from complications owing to her long battle with cancer, on Saturday, November 13, 2021.
Donaldson was beloved by so many, and her impact on the Harvard alumni community was profound. While studying at Harvard Law School, Donaldson, together with classmates, founded the Harvard Black Alumni Society in 2002, and served as HBAS' inaugural President. In her role as HBAS President, Donaldson organized the first Black Alumni Weekend, which drew hundreds of alums back to campus to convene in fellowship, to reconnect with the University, and to engage in dialogue around issues impacting our communities.
Donaldson's entrepreneurial spirit was not limited to her contributions to HBAS. In 2011, while working full-time as an attorney, she founded Thank God It's Natural - TGIN - establishing the brand as a trailblazer in the natural haircare industry. The brand is currently available in more than 10,000 stores nationwide.
In 2015, Donaldson was diagnosed with breast cancer. Amidst battling the disease, Donaldson launched the TGIN Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting uninsured women undergoing breast cancer treatment. Through the foundation, she aimed to raise awareness of the impact of health disparities on survivor outcomes and highlighted their devastating linkages to poverty. She recounted her ongoing struggle with cancer in her second book, This is Only a Test: What Breast Cancer Taught Me about Faith, Love, Hair, and Business (published in 2019). The book brought laughter, tears, and introspection to its readers.
Chris-Tia Donaldson will be remembered fondly for her selflessness, her commitment to service, her warmth and her unrelenting candor.
May she rest peacefully.
The Harvard Black Alumni Society