Special/Signature Issues » 2017 Top 40 Under 40

2017 Top 40 Under 40: Sarah Abubaker, 31

Director of Advancement Operations, University of Richmond


Sarah Abubaker graduated from James Madison University in 2007, and within two years, she had worked for Tim Kaine, Brian Moran, Creigh Deeds and Betsy Carr. Eventually, she faced two options: continue with politics and move out of Richmond, or change paths. She chose to pursue a master's degree in nonprofit management at Virginia Commonwealth University while working as assistant director of development for the CenterStage Foundation.

In 2013, Abubaker became director of advancement operations at the University of Richmond, making her one of the youngest directors on campus. Abubaker had to face difficult obstacles in 2014, though. Just a few months passed between the unexpected deaths of her mother and younger brother.

Abubaker spreads her compassionate awareness through Art 180 and the Bon Air Juvenile Correction Center, where she connects with children who struggle against substance abuse. "The way I know how to deal with things is to fix them," she says.

Abubaker also serves as president of the homeowner's association in Westover Hills, a neighborhood poised for big changes. She stays inspired by "the universal idea of not holding onto things you don't need anymore." Appropriately, this fall she's launching ReRunner, which connects couriers with customers who wish to return retail items.