OUR Story

Pink Santa Hat Movement: Where Compassion and Resilience Unite

In 2015, Elise’s diagnosis of Stage IV Metastatic breast cancer marked the beginning of a unique story. Fueling her fight was a teacher’s love—a love that envisioned supporting others facing the tumultuous seas of cancer.

From Elise’s vision sprouted the Pink Santa Hat Movement. In its inaugural year, care packages filled with warmth and essentials were dispatched to eight courageous women fighting their battles. The joy that echoed back illuminated a simple truth: in the darkest moments, a touch of love sparks a crescendo of hope.

On July 31, 2018, Elise’s earthly journey concluded, but her legacy endured in her family’s hearts. 

Plans crafted with Elise persisted—honorees gathered in Atlanta for a magical weekend. The Pink Santa Hat Movement transformed grief into a heartfelt celebration, a gala night where warriors were honored for their unwavering resilience.

When the world paused with the arrival of unprecedented times, Pink Santa Hat’s heartbeat remained steadfast. In 2022, 15 women gathered for a weekend filled with love, laughter, and shared strength. The Movement expanded, now embracing not only breast cancer warriors but educators, nurses, firefighters, and beyond—a ripple effect of love.

The Pink Santa Hat care packages, woven with love, transcend breast cancer. Cozy socks, hats, and practical essentials symbolize more than warmth; they are a hug, a whispered assurance that no one fights alone. Each item, a stitch in a tapestry of care, aims to bring smiles and comfort to those facing their battles.

The Pink Santa Hat story is an unfolding narrative of love and resilience, written with every gesture of support. As we move forward, the Movement stands as a beacon—inspiring, empowering, and weaving a legacy that transcends adversity.

Enter the narrative of Pink Santa Hat. Join us as we continue this melody of love, resilience, and hope. Together, let’s create a world where every person facing a battle feels the embrace of compassion—a world where the Pink Santa Hat heartbeat echoes in every corner.

OUR board of directors

Tosha has been in education for over 18 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia. She later pursued further studies at Central Michigan University and received a Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction. She also has her Educational Leadership certificate from Valdosta State University. Tosha has taught kindergarten and first grades. She was a Curriculum & International Baccalaureate PYP & MYP program coordinator for five years in the charter school sector before becoming a high school assistant principal. She has spent the last two years as an elementary school principal. She and her family started The Wright Stuff Chics & Teach Your Heart Out in 2017. In 2018, they began the non-profit organization, Pink Santa Hat in honor of her twin sister, Elise Dunnigan Bethel, who valiantly fought Stage IV breast cancer. During her free time, Tosha enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, reading, Pelotoning, shopping and traveling.

Lisa Alexander Dunnigan attended Carrollton High School and the State University of West Georgia. She also began her career as a seventh-grade teacher, at Carrollton Junior High School, in Carrollton, GA. Lisa subsequently moved the family to Gainesville, GA, where Lisa taught fourth grade. As the twins were starting high school, they made a final move to Douglasville, GA, where Lisa’s career continued to grow. During her early tenure at Douglas County Schools, she held positions of increasing responsibility, including School Counselor, Assistant Principal and Principal.

As an elementary school principal, Lisa was recognized often. Additionally, because of the multiple instructional gains made by her staff and students during her tenure, Lisa received several additional school achievement awards. In 2012, Lisa became the Federal Programs Executive Director for the Douglas County School System. She retired in 2020, and now works in her family businesses on The Wright Stuff Chics, Teach Your Heart Out and her families nonprofit, The Pink Santa Hat Movement, Inc.

Donita Howell has been an educator since 1999. She has served in a variety of roles including classroom teacher, graduation coach, assistant principal, principal, and college professor. Donita earned degrees from Clark Atlanta University, University of Phoenix, Jacksonville State University, and a doctorate from Mercer University.
Donita joined the Pink Santa Hat team in 2022 as the Executive Director. Her personal connection to education as well as a family history of breast cancer make this cause especially important to her.

Charlene is a visionary leader with a proven track record of intellectual curiosity, transforming technology teams into cohesive, operational units including business analysis, database and software development, systems design and implementation, and business operations management. Her skills are many and include business analysis, database and software development, systems design and implementation, and business operations management. These exceptional skills lead to over 36 years of multi-faceted implementations of large-scale development of off-the-shelf commercial software where she also co-founded Corserv Solutions, Inc. which focused on this software for financial institutions. Charlene served as a VP for Wells Fargo and was programmer analyst/Operations Officer for Truist Banks after receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from The University of Georgia and a Master of Arts, Religious Studies from Luther Rice College & Seminary. Her team Leadership and Management skills are many and include to name just a few; coaching, mentoring, and training staff, roadmap management, application/solution design and delivery, software prototyping, presentations and demos, user experience design, MS project, Visio, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and many more.

Charlene’s current position is to oversee a portfolio of projects targeted at call containment, customer experience, and client satisfaction maximizing operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness for the firm. Charlene Benn is an exceptional, talented, innovative pioneer in the software field as well as a motivational and strategic project implementation expert. Her talents go unmatched. Charlene is on the board of the Pink Santa Hat Movement and serves as the secretary.

Gary L. Clayton is a native of Douglasville, Georgia. He’s a graduate of Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia. He’s the Financial Secretary for the Morehouse College National Alumni Association and a recipient of the Alumnus of the Year Award and inductee in the Hall of Honor for the Atlanta Alumni Chapter of Morehouse College. He’s a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. He’s employed as a Senior Examination Specialist with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. He’s an Associate Pastor at Light of Joy Church in Riverdale, Georgia. He’s a board member of the Pink Santa Hat Movement, which he thoroughly enjoys.

Dr. Asha Lindsey is a current OB/GYN Resident at DMC/Wayne State in Detroit, Michigan. She is committed to providing equitable care for black and brown communities and empowering patients to take control of their reproductive health.

She is a proud graduate of Spelman College and Meharry Medical School. She also received a Masters of Global Medicine from Keck School of Medicine of USC. Her accomplishments include the Elizabeth Karlin Early Achievement Award and the National Medical Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology Section Scholarship Award.

Her hobbies include traveling, exploring local coffee shops and watching movies.


Christopher L. Thomas, Sr. is a native of Ft. Myers, Florida but has resided in the Metro Atlanta area since 1999. He moved to the Atlanta area immediately following his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida. His credentials include a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.

Christopher has had a successful career in the financial services space with the last 24 years focused on residential lending. He currently serves as Assistant Branch Manager for DHI Mortgage- the affiliate lender to America’s #1 builder- D.R. Horton Inc.

Christopher is a father 1 of son (Chris Jr.) and a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Incorporated.

Kelisa Wing is the 2017 DoDEA State Teacher of the Year and was the first person of color to achieve that honor in the school system’s 71 year history. She is the founder & CEO of Promises & Possibilities, LLC. Kelisa is a 2016 Association of Supervision, Curriculum, and Development (ASCD) Emerging Leader, and the 2017 University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Edward Parnell Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. She has served on the Education Civil Rights Alliance (ECRA) Steering Committee and is a member of the Leading Educator Ambassadors for Equity (LEAE) with the ECRA. As a member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY), she has led efforts for mentoring teacher leaders through a partnership with 100Kin10. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Learner Variability Project (LVP) & Digital Promise. She is an author and content advisor of 18 children’s books about Racial Justice and has authored three books about the school to prison pipeline, justice, and other topics. She speaks both nationally and internationally about discipline reform, equity, student engagement, and many other topics.

We are proud to share our annual report

You can review the 2023 report here.