Debra is no stranger to the collaborative effort of supporting non-profits that focus on improving their communities, which is so central to Impact100’s mission.
The Development Chair of Acenda Integrated Health has spent a lifetime giving to others, a passion that was nurtured by her parents. Debra’s father was a World War II veteran, volunteer fire chief, a member of the Knights of Columbus, and served as the town’s Santa Claus for many years. Her mother was a member of the Knights of Columbus Auxiliary Ladies and as a result, Debra remembers spending most of her weekends in a variety of volunteer and civic activities.
This culture of giving has followed Debra throughout her life. When her sons Jeremy and Craig were in school, she joined parent groups and other school-based activities, raising her children much in the same way she had been. After they graduated, Debra was looking for opportunities beyond the high school to give back. That’s when her friend Kevin Becica invited her to join the fundraising team of Robin’s Nest, where Debra raised more money than everyone else that year. Robin’s Nest did the wisest thing they could do in this situation and invited Debra to be on the board.
Robin’s Nest has recently merged with Cape Counseling Services, NewPoint Behavioral Health Care, and Daytop Recovery to become Acenda Integrated Health, elevating Debra to Development Chair for the new statewide organization. Her efforts on behalf of this organization which provides over 100 life-enhancing services to individuals, families and communities across ten counties in New Jersey, are being recognized at their Circle of Impact Awards this April 22.
When not working to raise money for and awareness of Acenda and their many programs, Debra gives her time to yet more local organizations in her community. For over 25 years, she has been a member of the Camden County Democratic Committee, and a member of Cherry Hill Democrats. She has been on the fundraising team for the Cooper Foundation Pink and Teal fundraiser since its inception 12 years ago, and has been involved with the Alicia Rose Foundation.
Debra was drawn to Impact100 when she saw a video on LinkedIn that highlighted the dynamic women who had come together to make a direct and lasting contribution to a local non-profit in our first year. She wanted to be a part of a group that not only empowered the grassroots organizations doing such good in their communities, but that did so by uniting like-minded women throughout the region. When she saw the good that could be done simply by joining – and by encouraging other women to do the same – she encouraged her husband’s company Environmental Resolutions to sponsor her membership. Since joining she has been energized by the women she has met both in our South Jersey chapter and throughout the country.
Debra’s advice to women looking to get involved – whether through Impact100 or in some other way – is to open your eyes and your heart to the possibilities around you. Every person has something that she can do whether big or small that can benefit others. How ever you start, wherever is that jumping off point, it can become a bridge to worlds you may never have known existed. Debra also likes to pass along advice she got from Ruth London when she first joined Robin’s Nest. She was worried that she didn’t have the skills or background necessary to be successful at what they were asking her to do. Ruth told her that you don’t need letters behind your name to succeed. You only need passion and the want to help.