Photography by Jamison Mosley | Annual Giving Director for the Arkansas Foodbank
At the Arkansas Foodbank, Annual Giving Director Sherri Jones works with donors to improve the lives of families throughout Arkansas. She manages the corporate and foundation partnerships as well as individuals who engage in the organization’s mission fulfillment to end hunger in the state. She notes with a smile, her favorite days are getting the opportunity to distribute food. “When you hand a box of food to someone in need and see their face, you immediately see the impact that food has on families in our community.”
Sherri describes meeting a single, young mother, “She was working three jobs, she was so tired, and was apologizing for having to be at a food pantry because she didn’t want to ask for help.” From these heart-wrenching stories, Sherri finds hope and triumph. She recalls, “When you hear about the parents that had to ask for help for their kids and are now teachers, organizing the Food For Kids backpack program, it makes you smile. It reminds me daily that we are all in this life together.”
This passion for philanthropy was realized through an impressive resume of community service. It all began at the Arkansas State Fair working with 4-H and Future Farmers of America students and advisors from across the state. During her tenure, Sherri developed relationships with students, who are now adults, as well as agriculture and horticulture leaders. Following this 12-year career, and four years at Staffmark, Sherri returned to working with nonprofit organizations at the American Cancer Society. She says that it was there where she met people from around the country who were living with or caring for someone with cancer, and it changed her life. “Their strength, passion and drive made me a better person.”
After years of traveling for work and a desire to spend more time with her family, Sherri made a career change. “After a nudge from my husband, I sent one resume and that was to the Arkansas Foodbank. I received a call from Chief Development Officer Sarah Riffle. We hit it off immediately.” Now, Sherri works closely with Sarah as a team devoted to the mission.
These decades of success reflect Sherri’s love for fellow Arkansans and a commitment to improving our community. “Non-profit work is not just a job, it’s a passion,” Sherri acknowledges. “I have loved each organization that I’ve worked for, but I also think that comes back to non-profits. While I love making connections in the community, I thrive in environments where I know I can make a difference in the community.” Sherri started youth programs that continue to be successful at the Arkansas State Fair; she established the American Cancer Society Real Men Wear Pink that is now a national program and has generated more than 40 million dollars for breast cancer research, and she helped double revenue at the Arkansas Foodbank.innovative, fast paced, community-centric approach will continue to be important to our work to help those in need in our state.”