Debra Merritt, President-Elect

I would consider it an honor and privilege to be elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Optimist International Foundation. The Foundation is an integral part of our organization and its management crucial to our continued success and growth. I have an extensive legal and financial/mathematics background which would be beneficial to my serving on the Board. Additionally, I am dedicated, dependable, have a strong work ethic, and amwilling to give the time and effort needed to make our Foundation strong.

I have been an Optimist for 22 years and have served our organization in numerous capacities at the Club, District, and International level, the most recent being on the 2020-2021 International Activities Committee and Governor for the Alabama-Mississippi District during OI’s centennial year (2018-2019). My District was recognized as being Distinguished and ranked 6th overall.

I personally support the Foundation as a President’s Club Member and Christian Larson Partner and proudly wear my pink purse in support of the Women’s Philanthropy Council. I gained significant knowledge and insight into the Foundation during my training to become my District’s Foundation Representative in 2016-2017, where I was recognized as Distinguished and set a new record for dollars per member in my District. However, it was my experience during my year on the OI Foundation’s Club Grant Committee in 2017-2018 that made me want to further serve the Foundation on its Board of Directors. Having been given the opportunity to select the recipients of that year’s grants was such a rewarding experience. I was able to see firsthand how the Foundation works in conjunction with our member Clubs to spread Optimism. I was so moved while reading the grant applications that it made me want to do even more to improve the lives of children in my own community.

I greatly appreciate your consideration and support.