Upon reconnecting with a South Jersey friend after a 20-year gap, Terri Shirley-Summerhayes learned that her old friend was a member of Impact100 South Jersey. Terri had belonged to a supportive group of young mothers, the South Jersey Mother’s Network, in Marlton when her children were very young. She was also an active and engaged member of the Marlton community serving on the school board, volunteering in community organizations and local civic activities, while raising her children. Fast forward a couple of decades, Terri serendipitously met up with former SJ Mother’s Network member, Valerie Buickerood, and learned about Impact100 South Jersey – another group of like-minded women. Now in both a personal and professional position to give back financially, Terri was inspired to join.
When asked why she joined in 2019, Terri shared that, “I really liked the premise. It made me feel good that I had gotten to a point in my life that I could contribute to such an organization all on my own.” Like many Impact100 members, the idea of collective giving that leverages their contribution for impact was compelling. Many women never imagine themselves as philanthropists until they can see a way to make it happen. Impact100 SJ did that for Terri.
The most rewarding part of membership for Terri has been learning about the grantee organizations. She has not had the capacity to serve on committees at this point, but is eager to be introduced to those nonprofits in the region that she was previously unaware of and feels grateful that she is able to support their missions and programs. As a civic minded and compassionate person, serving the community in some way has always been central in her life. Being a member of Impact100 SJ allows her to continue that in a way that fits her life and her legacy at this point in time.
Having lived in many states while growing up as the daughter of a career Army officer, she and her husband Bob settled in Marlton in 1989 where they raised four children. A former educator, Terri has been an editor of a trade publication in the oil and gas industry for 20 years, and she and Bob downsized and moved to Haddon Township in 2018. Since then, two of her four adult children have settled there with their families, including three grandchildren. Her mother also moved within walking distance after relocating from Texas. Her busy career, especially during this tumultuous period of economic uncertainty and fluctuating energy costs, plus managing the transition for her aging mother while “juggling grandma duties”, have made it difficult to volunteer as she previously had. But for now, Terri says, “I like that I have the ability through Impact100 to volunteer my money to do good.”
In her limited free time, Terri and Bob like to travel and they spend time with family at the beach in Seaside Park where they own a summer home. Their large family gathers there to make memories boating, jet skiing, water skiing, and soaking up the sun and waves.