Name: Dorla Bonner

Title: Manager

Department: Community Development

How long have you lived in Kalamazoo? 

I have lived in Kalamazoo for 8 years, returning 20+ years after graduating from Western Michigan University. Go Broncos!

What is your favorite thing about Kalamazoo?

As a thespian, I love the arts and theater scene in Kalamazoo. I also have an awesome church and church family.

What neighborhood do you live in?

I live in Kalamazoo township, directly across the street from the Eastside neighborhood.

What is your educational background/work experience?

I hold a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in Marketing. Coursework toward a Master’s in Public Administration. Certification as a Workforce Development Professional from the University of Illinois – Springfield, and currently pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Ministry Leadership from the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.

My work experience includes managing workforce development programs for US Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and Education. Programs included Welfare to Work, Job Training and Partnership Act and Workforce Investment Act and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

What projects are you working on that are related to Imagine Kalamazoo?

The Community Development (CD) division is working on the Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo (SPK) initiative which covers many of the results of the engagement revealed from IK2025. Results such as housing, education, youth development are included in the SPK plan.

I am also working with the Planning Department to help the neighborhoods develop their neighborhood plans as part of their general fund agreements.

List a few of your hobbies.

  • Singing

  • Writing fiction and plays

  • Acting

What is your spirit animal and why?

There is a scripture in the Bible that admonishes believers to wise as serpents but harmless as doves. I use this as instruction to use wisdom cloaked in gentleness to get the job done!