Hello, I am Autumn Grooms, Great Rivers United Way’s new Development Director. In my position, I will oversee fundraising efforts, develop a grant program, and work to increase brand awareness in the community through relationships with current and potential sponsors as well as individual donors.
I have worked in the public and nonprofit sectors for 13 years managing human services programs and writing and administering grants. Most recently, I was the Community Services Manager for the City of El Mirage, Ariz., leading a team that delivered and administered the City’s grants program, as well as Homelessness Services, Transit Services, Special Events, and the El Mirage Senior Center. During my time in Arizona, I was fortunate to develop relationships with public and nonprofit partners that allowed for additional opportunities for the City’s residents.
Before moving to Arizona in 2017, I worked in grants and communications for the Sparta Area School District and YWCA La Crosse. I began my career as a reporter with the La Crosse Tribune. I am also currently an adjunct professor with Grand Canyon University, where I teach public administration courses.
An Onalaska native, I graduated from West Chester University, with a Doctor of Public Administration. I also graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning a master’s degree in cultural foundations of education, and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, earning a bachelor’s degree in human services.
15 Questions for Autumn
- What are you most excited about in your new position? Finding grant opportunities that will help to strengthen partnerships and collaboration with our Great Rivers United Way partners.
- Favorite color? Green
- Number of children? One, Vincent, a junior at Onalaska High School
- Least favorite household chore? Folding clothes – I don’t think the pile ever ends.
- Latest tidbit you’ve learned about United Way? GRUW has partnered with UW-La Crosse, Viterbo, and Western Technical College on an amazing website for those looking to be connected with volunteer opportunities: Ugetconnected, www.ugetconnected.org. Right now, there are holiday opportunities, as well as long-term opportunities, available. It’s definitely worth checking out for those who want to get involved in the community.
- Favorite recreational activity? Hiking
- Genre of music? Folk Rock
- Most likely to order on a menu? If it’s on the menu, Taco Pizza.
- Favorite movie? “Weekend at Bernies”
- Most looking forward to the first United Way campaign? Meeting the campaign coordinators who do so much for GRUW at their organizations.
- Role model? My parents. They taught me to work hard and always be kind.
- Favorite place to visit? Phoenix. The city was at first a place I loved to visit, then it became a second home.
- Guilty pleasure? I’m not sure I have one.
- Memorable moment in the new job thus far? The Kick-Off Breakfast. It was wonderful to see so many GRUW supporters in attendance.
- Favorite thing about our community? It’s hard to choose one favorite thing about our community – it’s welcoming, beautiful, and there is a sense of community and collaboration that is difficult to duplicate. Having left and returned, our community also feels like home no matter if you are visiting for a weekend or longer or staying long-term. People here care about one another and want to help their friends and neighbors, even if they have never met.