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Philanthropy in the Natural State

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By KIM MEYER-WEBB | Photography by SARAH ODEN | Hair & Makeup by TYLER RICHARDS with RED BEAUTY LOUNGE | Wardrobe from DILLARD’S  | Jewelry by JONES & SON DIAMOND & BRIDAL FINE JEWELRY

Sherri Jones credits cultivating authentic relationships to her happiness and success. Her professional portfolio reflects a tenure of nearly 30 years working with nonprofit organizations that improve the welfare of Arkansans and she recognizes friends + colleagues for her continued enthusiasm for fundraising. “Working with a good team and amazing volunteers at Arkansas Foodbank means we can distribute more food to more of our hungry neighbors. We all believe in the mission.”

 width=A native Arkansan, Sherri realized the transformative power of compassionate service through her family’s devotion to community. “I volunteered at church as a song leader and enjoyed spending time with the younger kids watching them find joy in worship.” She remembers her parents and grandparents as ardent advocates, “They were always cooking meals at the church and taking care of people. I learned life is hard, but a simple act of kindness can make someone’s day.”

Her impressive resume helped earn Sherri consideration at Arkansas Foodbank. It began at the Arkansas State Fair where she worked with 4-H and Future Farmers of American students and advisors from across the state. She built relationships with students who are now adults as well as agriculture and horticulture leaders. Following this 12-year adventure and four years at Staffmark, Sherri returned to working with nonprofit organizations at the American Cancer Society.

After years of travelling for work and a desire to spend more time with her family, Sherri made a career change. “Following my husband’s encouragement, I submitted a single resume to the Arkansas Foodbank. Shortly after, Chief Development Officer Sarah Riffle contacted me. It became clear right away that we shared identical core values and a unified vision for the foodbank’s mission.” Now Sherri works closely with a team devoted to executing events and external communication. She also manages corporate and foundation partnerships as well as individuals who engage in the organization’s mission fulfillment work to end hunger in the state. Sarah elaborates, “Sherri has a deep love for the people of Arkansas which is evident in the relationships she has built throughout her career. Her leadership within the Arkansas Foodbank, as well as the Association of Fundraising Professionals, has allowed Sherri to connect people with ways to better their community now and for years to come.”

As the Association of Fundraising Professional Arkansas Chapter President-Elect, Sherri notes the organization creates an invaluable network for its members. “Meeting other fundraisers and having the ability to phone a friend and ask a question is a key benefit. There are also virtual chat rooms with fundraisers from across the nation to share ideas.” The membership of the AFP Arkansas Chapter is 160+ strong – comprised of approximately 150 nonprofit organizations. Sherri looks forward to the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon later this month where like-minded civic and business leaders will celebrate the collective success throughout the community. She recognizes it’s the people that make this mission fulfillment work possible and authenticity is at the heart of it all. “Just be yourself and find what really moves you. When you have a passion, you tend to go all in and have fun.”

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