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On Life and Meaning

Jan 2, 2019

Donald K. Jonas, Ph.D. is executive director of Care Ring, which provides primary care to persons with modest means. He previously served as executive director of the Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation and as Senior Vice-President of Community Philanthropy at Foundation For The Carolinas. Don has written extensively on public policy, including the aging of our labor force and the future of America's health care system. He is a 2005 recipient of the Charlotte Business Journal's "40 Under 40" award, he is a German Marshall Fund Fellow, and he serves on a number of boards in the Charlotte region, including UNC Charlotte’s Institute for Social Capital. Don received a bachelor of arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master of arts from Appalachian State University and a doctorate in political science from the University of Kentucky.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in community health, medicaid transformation, human capital and singing in a band.  


  • Don describes Care Ring and its mission of providing health care to persons with limited resources.
  • He identifies the number one issue facing the patients of Care Ring.
  • He explains the Physician’s Reach Out and Nurse Family Partnership
  • He answers how Care Ring is funded and whether Care Ring has the funds it needs.
  • Don tells the story of Maribelle Connerat, the founder of Care Ring.
  • He addresses medicaid transformation in North Carolina and how it might affect Care Ring’s unique model of care.
  • He discusses social determinants of health and how it its leading Care Ring in new directions.
  • He shares his excitement and concerns about One Charlotte Health Initiative and a collective response to community health.
  • Don describes the community health he envisions and what would have to happen for it to materialize.
  • He reveals the personal challenges of leading Care Ring and how he feels about his work.
  • He talks about growing up in Charlotte and the influence of his parents.
  • He answers whether he wanted to run for political office.
  • Don describes his Ph.D. dissertation on telecommunications and the work he did on the book Workforce 2000 and Workforce 2020.
  • He shares how his interest in human capital and health care
  • He discusses why and how he joined the Foundation For The Carolinas as Vice President of Community Philanthropy.
  • He reflects on the influence of Joe Martin, a community leader and executive at Bank of America.
  • Don shares what he learned about himself as executive director of Presbyterian Hospital Association.
  • He talks about being the lead singer of a band, what he wishes he had more time to do, and why his band is called The Fidgets.
  • He reveals what the lyrics of his songs are all about.
  • Don answers whether he senses time passing and what matters most to him.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Black Mirrors and Frumious Bandersnatches

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning