We Appreciate you Sharon…
After decades of dedicated service, Sharon Reilly, Jumpstart’s Chief Development and Marketing Officer, retires today to enjoy well-deserved time with her loved ones. It is with very mixed emotions that Jumpstart bids farewell to Sharon who has quite literally transformed our fundraising and our organization with her leadership. Her focus on appreciation, joy, and social justice has infused our culture and the effects on us all personally and professionally will not soon be forgotten. I have had the great fortune of working with Sharon twice, and both times I have been profoundly changed by the gift of her partnership.
An entrepreneurial and mission-driven leader, Sharon has been a true champion for the underserved, investing most of her professional career raising money and elevating brands and organizations driving social impact. Throughout her career she has remained steadfast in her belief in education as a powerful path to achieve equity. As a graduate of Rust College and the University of Mississippi, Sharon’s passion for Jumpstart’s mission is deeply rooted in both her personal lived experience, her roots in the deep South, her experience as the child of sharecroppers, and a promise to her father when she headed to college that she would stay true and connected to her community.
Prior to serving as CDMO at Jumpstart, Sharon served as the vice president of development at the Greater Boston Food Bank where she led the most successful fundraising effort in the history of the organization. Prior to the Food Bank, Sharon held leadership roles at Cradles to Crayons and the Women’s Lunch Place, where she spearheaded the design and implementation of a comprehensive evaluation system to measure the impact and efficacy of the organization’s services. Her professional career has crossed every sector, from higher education to the Fortune 500, including time spent at the Food Project, Beverly Enterprises, and the National Marrow Donor Program. She has been a member of The Commonwealth Institute Executive Director’s Forum, the College Club of Boston and a member of the board of directors of The Food Project and the Pine Tree Institute.
When Sharon came back to Jumpstart in 2020, seven years after she served as Tri-State Region Executive Director for Jumpstart in 2013, she told us this would be her last job and that she wanted to bookend her career supporting early learners. In that time, she has helped launch both our strategic plan and the Growth Capital Campaign. Under her leadership, the development team has already raised 74% of the 2025 Growth Capital Campaign goal. During her time at Jumpstart Sharon has ensured that the people, partnerships, and systems across Jumpstart’s network are aligned to meet the organization’s fundraising goals, advance Jumpstart’s mission, and support the ECE sector with programs like the Read for the Record campaign, leading the world’s largest shared reading experience that now engages over 2 million readers annually and under Sharon’s leadership selected its first book by an African American male author.
Sharon’s impact, passion, and dedication to cause-driven work has been recognized with numerous honors, including the Pinnacle Award, Hood Simply Smart Milk Award, Boston Celtics: Heroes Among Us Award, Back Bay Association: Heavy Lifting Award, and Unity First: Common Ground Award. She was also featured in the Boston: 100 Inspirational Women book. Her list of accolades is truly impressive, and we’re so appreciative to have been able to partner with Sharon as she put her passion to work for our youngest learners and their teachers across the country.
We wish the very best for Sharon and know that our entire network including Corps Members, community partners, and supporters will continue to be inspired by her leadership and the indelible impact she has made on Jumpstart and throughout her career.
Best Wishes, Sharon!
A tale of Sharon
In honor and celebration of Sharon, the Jumpstart staff have created a beautiful book. Please take time to peruse and learn more about this incredible woman who will forever be Appreciated
ABOUT JUMPSTART FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
For 30 years, Jumpstart has been fueled by the belief that providing high-quality educational opportunities to all young children prepares them for academic and economic success later in life. Jumpstart advances equitable learning outcomes for young children by recruiting and supporting caring adults to deliver high-quality programming and drive systems change through teaching, advocacy, and leadership. Jumpstart has trained more than 60,000 college students and community volunteers, preparing over 140,000 children for kindergarten success. Jumpstart’s program is replicated across the country in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more at jstart.org.