Our Wonderful Debbie Genung Is Retiring!

In honor of her retirement, please share a memory and best wishes for Debbie. As a former educator, the Educational Advocacy program has always held a special place in her heart. If you are able, please consider making a gift in her honor.

Join us in celebrating the career of Debbie Genung!

When she was hired in 2006 as the Director of Development, Debbie was the Coalition’s sixth employee. Her passion for kids shone bright over the next 14 years; she developed our signature event, Hope in a Handbag (formerly Old Bags); founded the Junior Board; grew an outstanding Governing Board; drove the growth of the Coalition’s budget from less than $500,000 to nearly $5 million; and though she was only the sixth employee, her hard work expanded our staff to more than 60 of the toughest, smartest advocates in child welfare.

The numbers are impressive, but the true impact could never be quantified. Debbie created lifelong relationships in our community, both with individuals and organizations. To each she brought the kind of warmth, attention, and humor that would come to define the Coalition’s brand.

In honor of her retirement, please share a memory and best wishes for Debbie. As a former educator, the Educational Advocacy program has always held a special place in her heart. If you are able, please consider making a gift in her honor.


Having had the unbelievable good fortune to share my life with this incredible woman, I can say unequivocally that the word retirement is not in her vocabulary.
For Sugar, as she is now known by her eight adoring grandchildren, the correct description would not be retiring, but rather “What’s Next” !!!! Her love an passion for the FACC, the children, the dedicated workers, the irreplaceable volunteers, the mission, will never go away. She will be on to new challenges, tirelessly working to better the lives of children and striving to care for al those she comes in contact with.
Congratulations on a wonderful career, not it’s onward and upward.
Love you more than you could possibly know.

George Genung

Best wishes and Thank You!!

Debbie, you have worked tirelessly for St. Louis’ children, and were instrumental in building the coalition into what it is today. I look back fondly on all of the events and activities, from the early days at the Wainwright Building to what the coalition is today. You are such a big part of all of those memories.

I also value the role you’ve played in our family’s lives. You always have a smile and kind word for all of us when we come by the office or to an event. And you made sure that our children grew up knowing how to swim!

Congratulations, and all of the best!

Bruce Reed

Congratulations on your retirement, Debbie!

Congratulations on your retirement, Debbie! The Coalition won’t be the same without you (you know I’ll miss those margaritas…and your ever-present smile). Your genuine care and compassion for the children we serve is admirable, and your work helped so many kids. I feel lucky to have worked with you for so long and look forward to seeing you for swim lessons in the summers! I bet your grandkids are looking forward to having their Sugar around more!

Barbara Long
Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition

Congratulations..don’t be a stranger!


We can’t believe that this time has come! First off, let us say congratulations on retirement. We can’t wait to hear about all of the activities and travel that you have planned. Second, let us tell you how much we will miss seeing your smiling face and bubbly personality on a regular basis. You mean so much to everyone at the the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition. We would love to be able to quantify the number of lives that have been impacted by the funds that you have raised (we’re certain that its at least in the 10,000’s). That’s pretty incredible!

Thanks again for your tireless work on behalf of the children and most importantly, don’t be a stranger!

Marty & Andrea Stammer

Marty & Andrea Stammer

We will miss you!!

Debbie, you are always making others smile and laugh here at the office. I will miss your regular emails of happy stories, family updates, and articles you wish to share with all of us. Your margaritas and other yummy treat recipes have become a staple at office gatherings… please tell us you will come back to visit! We love you, Debbie!

Maddie Bobbitt
Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition

Debbie Will Be SO Missed!

Debbie! You were one of the first smiling faces I saw when I started working here in 2013. It’s been so wonderful to work with you over the years. We all love your kindness, sense of humor, compassion for our kids, stories about your far-flung family, and delicious margaritas for all Coalition celebrations! It’s been a joy and honor to share this office and this mission with you.

Kami Narayan
Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition

Thank you for all you have done

From the moment I met Debbie, I felt incredible warmth and compassion. She made me feel blessed to be able to call the Coalition my charity. Her belief in the mission of the Coalition has helped 100s of children find forever families. The Coalition has been so lucky to have her as an employee, mentor, and friend. She will definitely be missed.

Misty Watson


Congratulations on your retirement, Debbie! I know everyone at the coalition as well as those of us on the Hope in a Handbag committee will miss you dearly. Your enthusiasm, compassion and dedication are unmatched. Thank you for your many years of amazing work. Enjoy this time with your beautiful family! Cheers to you!

Alison Shubert

Thank you, Debbie!

We worked with you when we selected FACC as our charity for the 2017 ThurtenE carnival. From the moment our group met you and throughout carnival, you were a shining light of motivation for me and a reminder of how great FACC is. I wish you the best of luck on your next step in life!

Ross Brown
2017 ThurtenE Junior Honorary

Always a Smile and a Thank You

I have a feeling that the Coalition will definitely miss Debbie. As a volunteer, I know I will! Each and every time I came into the office to volunteer, if Debbie were there, she made me feel so valuable! She definitely made a point of smiling and saying “thank you.” Not just occasionally, but each and every time!

Lucky for me, Debbie lives nearby, so hopefully I can meet up with her on a neighborhood walk.

Thanks for all YOU have done for the Coalition!

Tina Amrein

You always remember!

Thank you for always remembering what is important and modeling that for us…you never forget to ask about our families and to check in on others when you know that they are struggling. You make each person that you are talking to feel important, heard and loved and I will always treasure that about you! Enjoy your family and your much deserved time!

Katie Corrigan
Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition

Willingness to learn and grow

Debbie’s pursuit of knowledge and growth is so inspiring. I appreciate her and will greatly miss her!

Kelly Sullivan

Happy Retirement!

Debbie, thanks so much for being by my side since my introduction to the Coalition a few years ago! Your passion and energy will truly be missed. Enjoy retirement and I hope to see you at future events!

Mike Normile
First Bank

I personally love you

From the very first time we met, you made it easy to give away money–quite a talent! Kathy and I have both frequently talked about how wonderfully you make a donor feel. As I said in the heading “I personally love you!”

Jim Martin

She is a doll!


Continued success!

Sally Coleman

Sally Coleman


Wishing you a happy fulfilling retirement. I know FACC will miss you – as will all of us who had the opportunity to meet you and work with you. Tough shoes to fill! Your impact on kids and families is immeasurable and your never ending positivity and unflappability is admirable. Thank you for many years of enthusiastic commitment and service. Hope to see you at Dierbergs flashing that smile!

Mia Walters

Debbie and all the little children

After 15 *amazing* years of working with Debbie, there are so many wonderful memories, including the way she brings volunteers to our mission, how shoe shows our donors love, and the way she deeply cares for all of us at the office. But my absolute favorite is how she would care for the little ones at our Training Extravaganzas. “Miss Debbie” was a preschool whisperer! She would entertain them for hours with songs, games, and stories…and they thought she was simply a rock star…which she is!

Melanie Scheetz
Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition

Congrats Debbie!

Who knew? A friend invites me to a Cardinals game and I end up sitting next to his wonderful neighbor who ends up getting me involved with this great organization! Thanks Debbie and best wishes on your next endeavor!

Jamie McCarthy
TD Ameritrade

A genuine, caring soul

I’ve been so lucky to work closely with Debbie during my time as a volunteer and board member! Her enthusiasm and dedication inspire me so much. Debbie’s commitment to the Coalition has deeply changed the direction and growth of the organization. It won’t be the same at the Coalition without her.

Debbie is fun! She makes the most of every moment and I will miss her very much. Debbie, enjoy all of the moments with your family – thank you for friendship and your tireless service to the Coalition!

Cari Wegge
XIL Consulting

She shines with joy!

While I am sad to see Debbie go, I wish her the best and hope that she truly enjoys retirement and the chance to spend more time with her family. I do not have a specific memory to share…but rather just an appreciation for how warmly Debbie has greeted me each time I have arrived at the FACC offices! She truly shines with joy, and the friendliness and genuine warmth were so appreciated. You have always made us feel like we are an important part of the work that FACC does, and we are so grateful for the many ways that you have invited us to participate. Thank you Debbie!! – Beth Kazlauskas and the Webster Groves Presbyterian congregation

Beth Kazlauskas
Webster Groves Presbyterian Church

Thank you

Debbie is the one that brought me to the Coalition. Debbie had been a mentor to me at the Junior League when I first moved to St. Louis. She had just started as Development Director for the Coalition, and I was looking for someplace to dedicate some volunteer time. Debbie opened my eyes to all the needs of the foster children in the St. Louis area as well as the many services that the Coalition provided to foster children, foster parents, and the community at large. Through Debbie, I was able to become a founding member of the Junior Board as well as the Hope in a Handbag fundraiser. Ever since, my family has enjoyed being a part of the Coalition’s mission to find a place to call home for foster children. Together we work on Hope in a Handbag, Little Wishes, the Cinderella Project, Birthday Buddies, and now my husband serves on the Executive Board. We are so grateful to Debbie for bringing the Coalition into our lives so that we can help children to have loving families as we do. But most importantly, we are so grateful that we have become such good friends with Debbie over the past 14 years, and look forward to many more good times together.

Aimee Bergan

Your legacy will be long lasting!

From all of us at KSDK, thank you for your tireless dedication to finding forever homes for area children in need!

I fondly recall your smiling face on the Little Wishes shopping day over the years. Despite the buzz of excitement at the Kirkwood Walmart, you were always calm and made each donor feel special. I hope you will continue to volunteer at this worthwhile event for years to come!

You will be missed but your work will not be forgotten!

Alicia Fronckiewicz Elsner
KSDK 5 On Your Side

Thank you for all your hard work!

In 2017, the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition was the community partner for the annual ThurtenE Carnival at Washington University. As the coordinator for community partner relations, I had the incredible opportunity to work with Debbie firsthand while we strategized on how to raise awareness and establish/maintain a partnership with the university. Debbie was an absolute joy to work with and demonstrated how passion, perseverance, and selflessness enrich our community. The entire 2017 honorary benefited from having her in our lives and we wish her a joyful and relaxing retirement.

Sarah Willson
Washington University in St. Louis

Thank you for everything!

I had an incredible time partnering with Debbie and the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition for the 2017 ThurtenE Carnival! We all have cherished memories of working long days and nights with the light of Debbie’s energy guiding us to putting together the best carnival we possibly could for the kids.

Your leadership and enthusiasm will be missed, but has always been and always will be appreciated and remembered!

Clayton Keating
ThurtenE 2017

Congratulations on your Retirement!

Congratulations for all your accomplishments over the years and the lives you have touched by your tireless devotion to others.

Patti Short

An Amazing Advocate & Dear Friend

When I met Debbie almost 11 years ago, I loved her immediately! Her kindness and spirit are infectious. Debbie walks into a room, and it immediately lights up. She has been a jack of all trades for the Coalition, and has been in the throws of everything from tending bar at trivia nights to cleaning purses for Hope in a Handbag. And she does it all with a smile. She really is everything a child’s advocate should be. Kind, patient, and open.

The Coalition has truly been blessed to have her as an advocate, and I was fortunate enough to gain a friend.

Best of luck in your retirement Debbie – you will certainly be missed!


Jackie Olinger Rochelle

Jackalyn Olinger Rochelle


Debbie. So glad to hear about your retirement. Now it’s time to spend more time with grand kids and traveling.
All the best


Georgine ODonnell

Thank You!

Debbie, because of your contribution to building Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition into the strong organization, many generations of children will be protected and loved. Thank you.

Lottie Wade
Spanish Lake CDC

Wishing you a very happy

Wishing you a very happy retirement. It was a pleasure meeting you and volunteering for FACC. You are an amazing person and I know you will be missed.

Kathleen Mises

You will be missed

You can always feel and hear the compassion and committment that Debbie has for youth impacted by fostercare. Her desire to make the world better and safer for all is truly an inspiration.

Thank you for your thoughtful dialogue and your dedication to us all.

Karen Alyasiry
Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition

We’ll miss you, Debbie!

It’s been a pleasure working alongside you, Debbie! Your bright spirit, desire to keep learning, and passion for our cause has been wonderful to witness. Happy retirement and cheers to more time with your family!

Summer Renne
Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition

An amazing colleague and friend

I don’t even know where to start!

I’ve sat five feet from Debbie ever since I started at the Coalition in 2016. It has been a master class, not just in development work, but in how to exude warmth and compassion while not sacrificing an ounce of toughness and tenacity. Her excitement to teach and learn from others makes her a joy to be around. I know I wouldn’t be half the professional I am today without Debbie’s guidance and attention.

This team will not be the same without her humor and grit. Whether it’s reminding us all to wear sunscreen before Memorial Day weekend, passing out candy at the end of a long day, or overhearing her famously warm, funny, and entertaining calls with Coalition donors and volunteers, it’s tough to imagine what this place will look like without her presence. As sad as I think we all are that our time together is ending, we couldn’t be more grateful for the 15 incredible years Debbie’s given the Coalition. Our kids and families have been so lucky to have her enormous talent and passion.

Thank you for everything, Debbie! I’ll miss you!

Kyle Williams
Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition

Congratulations & Best Wishes

Wow! So many memories of Debbie! Thank you for everything you’ve done & taught me & the community.. especially all the kindness and compassion for kids in foster/adoptive care!
Congratulations 🎉 & best wishes for your next journey!
Marie and m

Marie And Maurice Noellsch

You are an inspiration!

Wishing you well in your retirement! Thank you for your incredible work across so many years. Your passion for helping children in foster care is an inspiration to all.

Thank you!

Shannon Hauri

A true gem in our community

I served on the Development team at The Coalition with Debbie, and had the pleasure of sitting right next to her. Every time she answered the phone, she made it a wonderful, personal experience for whomever was on the other end of the line. She cares so deeply about children, but also about the supporters who make it possible for the Coalition to do such great work. Her sincerity,humility, and compassion set her apart. I learned more about stewardship and authentic communication from her than I have from anyone else in my career. You will be missed, Debbie – cheers to your next chapter!

Shannon Durio

A huge loss

I had the honor of watching Debbie in action while I am working with Little Wishes. Such an amazing person and always has a smile on her face.

We are all going to miss you

Tonya Howard
Wells Fargo Advisors


I’ve spent the last five years working alongside Debbie, and I will greatly miss her guidance, passion and determination.

Congratulations on an amazing career, Debbie. Here’s to spending more time with your amazing globe-trotting family!

Billy Flynn
Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition

Submit a Memory for Debbie's Retirement

Having technical trouble submitting a memory for Debbie? Send your memory or well-wishes to billyflynn@foster-adopt.org.

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