James McDonald has actively participated in community life for over 30 years and brings a wide range of experience. In November 2012, McDonald was elected to the Village Council in Pinecrest, Florida, a non-partisan position. He has subsequently been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Miami-Dade League of Cities and is chairman of its Transportation Committee. He currently serves as vice mayor.
McDonald has had a long history of civic involvement in the community. He served on the board of governors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Miami River Commission, a member of the Bayfront Park Trust, president of the Downtown Miami Business Association, a member of the board of directors of the Zoological Society of Florida, vice chairman of the board of trustee of St. Thomas University, Miami and founder and chairman of the Volvo Ocean Race Host Committee, Ocean Race Miami, Inc., for the 2002 Miami stopover.