Jackson State Alumnus Marc Barnes joins UNCF as the first SVP, Principal Gifts Officer

JACKSON, Miss.- Jackson State University alumnus Marc Barnes, Ph.D., CFRE, joins the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) Office of the President as the first senior vice president, principal gifts officer. Barnes will work directly with UNCF President and CEO Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., to strengthen financial support for strategic impact initiatives. In the new leadership role Barnes will work with the president on developing strategic fundraising activities and leading a team to identify opportunities to broaden UNCF’s philanthropic revenue.

On the UNCF website, President Lomax stated, “I’m thrilled to welcome Dr. Barnes to our team. He joins us at a pivotal moment as we work to expand our mission beyond scholarships, to strengthen the institutions themselves, and to uplift the entire HBCU educational system. Marc’s significant fundraising experience, knowledge of the landscape, relationships with HBCU leaders, and intense discipline will be enormous assets to UNCF as we move into our exciting new chapter.”

Barnes possesses more than two decades of fundraising experience, including 18 years at Dillard University in New Orleans. Dillard is one of the 37 HBCUs receiving financial support from UNCF. The organization noticed the work Barnes has done at the institution and decided he was the best fit for the new position.

“I fell in love with the opportunity to get gifts that really made an impact in young people’s lives and helping them get their college degree,” said Barnes. “Since I’ve started doing this work 22 years ago it’s been a work of passion for me. I love it because I feel like there has literally been thousands of students able to graduate as a result of the work I’ve done.”

During his time at Dillard, Barnes consistently exceeded revenue goals and supported student success through targeted fundraising strategies and visionary leadership while concurrently obtaining his doctorate from Jackson State University through the Urban Higher Education Executive Ph.D. program. Barnes’ focus on effective marketing and PR campaigns helped the institution increase private fundraising, double alumni giving, and raise more than $30 million dollars in new revenue.

“I know that he will do any excellent job at moving the United Negro College Fund forward in its overall goal and objective of raising money for HBCUs and he’s been a perfect example of the types of students we graduate from our Ph.D. program in higher education,” commented JSU Executive Director and Professor Walter Brown, Ed.D. “I think he’s a perfect fit because you have to have the connections, you have to be well known, you have to be respected and I can’t think of a better match.”

Barnes also chaired several subcommittees to orchestrate a series of events throughout the year for Dillard’s sesquicentennial celebration. His efforts garnered the highest alumni giving rate in Louisiana (23% up from 4%), and enabled more than 200 students to remain enrolled by establishing a student assistance fund. Additionally, he taught first-year student orientation courses to prepare freshmen for success. Now Barnes will transition his successes to assist even more young scholars on a grander scale.

“I’m really excited and  I’m also eager because there is so much potential in what we can do. We are in a time right now where people are starting to see the value of HBCUs,” said Barnes. “We want to be able to leverage that, so it’s not just a moment in time that they’re thinking about HBCUs, but they keep HBCUs at the forefront of their minds and of their philanthropy.”

UNCF was founded in 1944. Through the years, the non-profit has raised more than $5 billion dollars and helped more than 500,000 students attend college and graduate. The organization awards more than 10,000 students scholarships valuing over $100 million a year. UNCF also provides financial support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and serves as the nation’s leading advocate for the importance of minority education and community engagement. The six-year graduation rate for UNCF scholarship recipients is 70%.