Director of Development
If you receive a call from Abby Cole, be prepared for an authentic conversation about the positive and far-reaching impact of Join Hands in East St. Louis. Abby’s magnetic personality and sincere approach to donor outreach, partner development, grant writing, and fundraising suit her well as Director of Development. Her professional background in banking and investment, nonprofit advancement, and as a community volunteer and parent, make her a natural relationship-builder and promoter.
Abby has been active with Join Hands since 2013. Director Sheila Burton had been telling Abby to get involved in Join Hands for about a year when Abby was approached by a total stranger while working on a capital campaign for the Roman Catholic Foundation of St. Louis. The stranger asked her a simple question, “What are you doing for the children of East St. Louis?” At that moment, Abby realized her true calling was across the Mississippi with Sheila and her team. In typical Abby style, she jumped right in! Over the years, she has been involved in nearly every aspect of Join Hands as a teen mentor, Girls Club volunteer, activity planner, committee member and so much more. Not only have her talents been instrumental in helping Join Hands grow its support base throughout St. Louis and beyond, but “Miss Abby” has been a wonderful role model. Whether it is taking her mentee to a movie, hosting cooking class at her home for Girls Club, or spearheading a group outing, she is known for her sense of humor, kindness and wisdom. In addition, her husband has been active behind the scenes and as a teen mentor.
The joy she receives from her work is apparent in her demeanor. According to Abby, “I love the people I work with and serve at Join Hands. The personal successes and relationships here make telling our story to potential donors easy. And the generosity of our donors is inspiring; there are so many beautiful people who make our programs possible.” When not working, Abby enjoys spending time with her husband, four children and grandchild, large extended family, many friends, cooking and doing needlepoint.