Rotary Club to honor Palomba with Harris Award


If you go

What: Paul Harris Award ceremony

When: Nov. 12, 5:30 p.m.

Where: The Crystal Room, 98 School St., Naugatuck

Tickets: $40. For tickets, call Kathy McPadden at 203-910-1927.

Information: The Naugatuck Rotary Club will honor Jane Doe No More founder and President Donna Palomba with the Paul Harris Award.


Donna Palomba

NAUGATUCK — Donna Palomba has helped victims of sexual assault for more than a decade through Jane Doe No More, a national nonprofit organization she founded and runs as president.

Jane Doe No More, Inc., which is based in Naugatuck, is dedicated to changing the way society responds to victims of sexual assault. The victim of a brutal home invasion and sexual assault in 1993, Palomba founded the organization in 2007 to help other victims find their voice and begin the process of healing.

The organization’s work includes advocacy for victims, hosting self-defense classes and helping to train first responders on how to respond to sexual assault victims. The organization also branches out into the community.

Palomba recently worked with Naugatuck High School students to help them learn how to be an “active bystander” and to stand up for someone in trouble.

“It is my passion to create real and meaningful change. That starts in our community,” Palomba said.

For all of her work, the Naugatuck Rotary Club named Palomba the recipient of its 2019 Paul Harris Award.

“I had no idea this was coming,” Palomba said. “I am very honored and humbled and surprised by this. It means a lot to be recognized in this way.”

The Paul Harris Award is named for the founder of the Rotary Club. The club gives it out each year to someone who has given their time and talents to the Naugatuck community.

Naugatuck Rotary Club President Thomas Saunders said the club looks for people who have made a “significant difference in the life of the community” through leadership, activism and voluntarism.

“Donna has certainly demonstrated those qualities,” Saunders said.

Palomba said she’s grateful to receive the award and has no plans of slowing down her work with Jane Doe No More.

“This is my heart and my calling,” Palomba said.