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Donna Chapman

2020 Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker Award

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

The St. Regis Houston

6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Donna Chapman is a celebrated Houston philanthropist and the president of Josey Oil. Imbued with a cosmopolitan way of thinking, Donna was born in Virginia, studied in France, moved to Dallas to teach French at St. Mark’s School of Dallas, and has lived in Houston twice. She also studied in Russia during the Cold War, knowing even then that she wanted to make a difference in the world.


Donna moved back to Houston to live here permanently in 1992. She taught art history and music, two of her abiding passions, at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory. Donna thinks of herself as a Virginian who loves France and Texas: they are different worlds, but both are wonderful.


While living in Dallas, Donna owned an art gallery that specialized in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. The gallery was the perfect vehicle for her because of her interest in, and love of, art, and because it gave her the opportunity to travel between Paris and Dallas to procure paintings. Although Donna no longer has the business, she remains an avid art collector.


A devoted supporter of the arts, Donna is a member of the board of Houston Grand Opera (HGO) and Houston Symphony. She is married to Max C. Chapman, Jr., a businessman who is well-known  in New York and a major contributor to, and football hero at, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Together, Donna and Max chaired the HGO Carousel Ball 2016 and hosted Houston Symphony Opening Night 2017.


As well as the arts, Donna is an avid supporter of medicine and education. She is a past chairman of the board of the American Hospital of Paris Foundation, having served from 2007 to 2012. Donna has been a member of the board since 1994. The foundation supports the American Hospital of Paris, a private not-for-profit hospital dedicated to providing the best in American and French medicine to its patients. She was humbled to have been honored at the American Embassy in 2016 and at the Plaza Hotel in NYC in 2017, for strengthening the ties between the United States and France through her work with the institution. Donna is also a member of the board of the University of Texas Medical Branch—Galveston.


Her volunteer work in education began when her children were small with the Mother’s Club, of which she was president. Donna has also served on the board of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, the board of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, and Bridges of Understanding (Middle East).


Returning to her roots, Donna is on the board of Sweet Briar College, a private women’s college in Sweet Briar, Virginia, and is a new member of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in Williamsburg, Virginia. Because it makes her happy to give back, Donna works hard for the charities she supports.


Donna thinks of herself as a wife and mother first. She and Max are the proud parents of six children and even prouder grandparents of 11 grandchildren. The elements of life that bring Donna the greatest joy are her husband, children, grandchildren, friends, painting, writing, and playing piano.


Donna has filled her life with family, culture, travel, and philanthropy. Art is a guiding star for her, and she says of it: “I love art because life is about making marks and making memories, and painting is that for me.”


It is for all the reasons mentioned above, and many more, that Donna Chapman has been named a Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker for 2020. 

 Presenting Sponsor

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