Dr. Sharon L. McDaniel, PhD, EdD, MPA

Founder, President and CEO

Pittsburgh Corporate Office: (412) 342-0600

Dr. Sharon L. McDaniel is the founder, president and CEO of A Second Chance, Inc. (ASCI), the nation’s leading nonprofit voice on kinship care. She has more than 36 years of professional experience as an award-winning child welfare leader in Pennsylvania.

Notable affiliations include: Trustee of Casey Family Programs; Jim Casey Youth Opportunity Initiative; Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth; Quality Improvement Center on Post Permanency Services through HHS and Spaulding for Children; Federal Quality Child and Family Services Review; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Advisory Kinship Panel; National Center on Grandfamilies Council for Generations United; Casey National Center for Resource Family Support Advisory Board; Children’s Defense Fund; Pennsylvania Quality Assurance Committee for Child and Family Service Review; Allegheny County Children’s Cabinet.

Civically, she is the president of Black Administrators in Child Welfare, on the board of Coro Pittsburgh, the founder and immediate past president of the African American Strategic Partnership and a board member at Footbridge for Families. 

Dr. McDaniel notably served as a co-investigator and author of “Subsidized Legal Guardianship: A Permanency Planning Option Study for Children Placed in Kinship Care” and “Subsidized Legal Guardianship Update.” Her research supported the development of a subsidized legal guardianship proposal for Pennsylvania, which, at that time, had no such legal status in its legislation.

In 2014, she published On My Way Home: A Memoir of Kinship, Grace, and Hope to underscore the purpose of kinship care, empowering families to save the lives of their children. This intimate account of her life begins when she was only 6 years old and removed from the care of her young, widowed father, separated from her brother and sister and forced into the child welfare system in Pittsburgh. Before emancipating at age 17, her journey was one of finding home—a quest that unknowingly became her life’s calling.

In 2021, her dissertation, Black Female Executives’ Perceptions of Their Advancement, Vulnerability, and Self-Efficacy in Philanthropy was publishedThrough the theoretical frameworks of Black feminist thought and critical race feminism/theory, her study explored the social constructs of race and gender and how the intersection of these distinguishing identities informs Black women’s leadership advancement, vulnerability, and self-efficacy experiences at the apex of philanthropic foundations. Her study additionally explored the study participants’ self-efficacy to better understand the role of this social cognitive theory in addressing their intersectional experiences in predominantly White male institutions. 

Over the past 36 years, Dr. McDaniel has authored several articles and papers on child welfare and has received numerous local and national honors and awards. She has also been devoted to higher education, earning her master’s degree followed by her doctorate in education, as well as attending Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government for Executive Education in Nonprofit Governance and the University of Chicago’s Executive Education in Investment Management. She recently obtained her second doctorate.  

Additionally, as a sought-after lecturer, she has presented at the University of Barcelona, Oxford University, Howard University, and others.