As a student of history, Second Helpings Atlanta Development Manager Jessica Hedden believes in the power of stories, and the magic that takes place when an individual’s story aligns with the mission of an organization. Through her studies, she was also introduced to social justice movements, which inspired her love of nonprofit (she prefers the term “social profit”) work.
Jessica grew up in South Georgia, graduated from Columbus State University and earned a graduate degree at Auburn University. In 2012, she joined Teen Advisors, a Columbus-based organization that supports middle- and high school in making choices that will contribute to a lifetime of success.
She moved to Atlanta in 2016 where she worked in Advancement and Alumni Engagement development for Emory University’s School of Medicine and Laney Graduate School. Jessica later served in the development department of Wellroot Family Services, formerly United Methodist Children’s Home.
Jessica was chosen to lead Second Helpings Atlanta’s development operation in 2020. She says, “What attracted me to SHA is that it felt like a very logical solution to two significant and related problems, food waste and food insecurity. It’s about meeting two critical needs in a highly efficient and effective way.” She sees the organization at an important crossroads, “established enough to have earned a great reputation, but young enough to be willing to innovate.”
An avid reader and viewer of documentaries, Jessica is married to Patrick Hedden. They share a talkative, 17-year-old cat named Vincent. She loves hiking, murder mysteries and visiting national parks. Jessica is a longtime community theater volunteer and advocate, and has written several children’s plays.
“Some people are scared away from development because they don’t like asking for money. But the work is really about telling the story of Second Helpings Atlanta and helping people engage with the mission.”
~ Jessica Hedden