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Debbie Grooms – Association of Fundraising Professionals Arkansas President

Photography by Rett Peek | Hair & Makeup by Suzy Balkman with Bristle + Balm | Wardrobe from B. Barnett | Shot on location at The Hornibrook Mansion The Empress of Little Rock

   For more than a decade, Debbie Grooms has helped build a community of support for Arkansas Enterprises for the Developmentally Disabled. A tour of the AEDD facility and an encounter with a student, as Debbie remembers, simply sealed the deal for her. “A little girl in our preschool blew me a kiss and it melted my heart. From that point, I was on board.”

   Debbie embraced the AEED mission – empowering individuals with disabilities to improve the quality of their life. She quickly realized the Association of Fundraising Professionals was a critical resource in her professional success at AEDD. Through her membership with AFP, she cultivated skills that improved the organizational capacity of AEDD and expanded her personal knowledge. “I knew the organization was what I needed to build relationships with my peers and gain continuing education in my career,” Debbie explains. “It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made at AEDD.”

   As her service as president of the AFP Arkansas concludes, Debbie reflects on the impact of the AFP network. “I want AFP to be for others what is has been for me. As fundraisers, we have the trust of our donors to be good stewards of their gifts. The Association of Fundraising Professionals provides the blueprint of how to do that ethically and successfully.”

   The membership of AFP Arkansas is 160+ strong – comprised of approximately 150 nonprofit organizations. Debbie believes the friendships she has cultivated make her work even more meaningful. “We all know we are here a short amount of time and I like knowing I can leave a legacy of having made life better for someone else. I also love the people I have met who are so giving and compassionate about the causes they support. You never really know what inspires someone to give until you talk to them and hear their story. There are so many reasons I am inspired to work and serve at AEDD, but the bottom line is  – I do what I can to help better the lives of people with disabilities.”

Inviting Arkansas
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