Bettsy Edgar Heggie
Chief Operating Officer

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As Chief Operating Officer, Bettsy is responsible for the operations of a 501(c)3 non-profit which creates a community of opportunity for all Virginians through education. GRASP helps approximately 7,000 students annually, in 76 Virginia high schools, most of whom are in difficult financial circumstances, with access to post-secondary education. Today it has an annual operating budget of approximately $1.2 million. Although this is a COO position, there is plenty of hands-on work including interfacing with the Board of Directors, foundations, donors, and legislators; budgeting; communications; planning; event organizing; and staff development. As Secretary of the Board, the COO is responsible for federal and state filings, compliance with the state regulatory bodies, and the annual audit. While at GRASP, Bettsy developed the website, student and donor databases, and disaster recovery plan. During her tenure,  GRASP has moved to Charity Navigator’s 4-Star Rating, received the Cameron Foundation 2016 Handy L. Lindsey, Jr. Award for Excellence in Organizational Management, and been recognized in 2017 by the Standards for Excellence® Institute as having met all the requirements for the Standards for Excellence Standards Basics.

Bettsy started at GRASP in 2006 as an advisor at Douglas S. Freeman and Meadowbrook high schools, where she helped high school seniors, primarily from low-income families, navigate the complex area of college financial aid. In 2007 she was given the responsibility of coordinating GRASP programs in then twenty-one high schools, and in 2008 she established GRASP's first state-wide office as Director of Advising. In this role, she was responsible for staffing, training, communications, state and federal filings, and relationships with school systems. She became CEO of GRASP in 2010 and has served on the board of Virginia College Access Network since 2013. GRASP has grown tremendously, and in August of 2017, she moved to the role of COO, to focus on the operations of the nonprofit.

Bettsy received her bachelor’s degree in history from Salem College (1978), master of business administration degree from Wake Forest University's Babcock School (1986), project management certification from the University of Denver Daniels College of Business (1999), and Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University (2017). Before GRASP she enjoyed a career in telecommunications with a focus on leadership and organizational development, specifically in information technology. 

Bettsy and her husband Tom, a graduate of Appalachian State University, and retired educator have one daughter, a graduate of the College of William and Mary, one son-in-law, a graduate of Washington and Lee University, one fabulous grandson and a lively Boykin Spaniel named Gracie.

Contact Bettsy at or (804) 527-7717.