Anna Barber is president and principal consultant for Barber & Associates, a boutique fundraising consulting firm focused on helping nonprofit organizations achieve their full fundraising potential.
Prior to starting her own business, Barber was a senior major gift officer for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) where she worked for more than eight years. She was part of NMAAHC's inaugural fundraising team that surpassed its $270 million private philanthropic goal by $50 million. Personally, Barber secured $42 million in leadership (more than $1 million) and major ($100 thousand) gift support, highlighted by the closure of 22 individual one million-dollar gifts, 90 percent contributed by first time donors to the Smithsonian. She also built and maintained a portfolio of high-profile celebrities, including Pauletta and Denzel Washington, LaTanya and Samuel L. Jackson, Magic and Cookie Johnson, Michael Jordon and Kobe Bryant, among many other national individual philanthropists. Leading into NMAAHC's Grand Opening in 2016, she led the efforts to host a $1M per plate fundraiser at the home of Denzel Washington and a mid-level fundraising event that generated $5 million from $25 thousand donors.
Prior to the Smithsonian, Barber spent 10 years working as a frontline fundraiser in big-time college athletics. She served as the director of major gifts for Michigan State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics where she was part of the team that successfully completed a $110 million capital campaign, which was part of a larger $1.2 billion university-wide campaign. In addition to fundraising, she oversaw the athletics department's endowment, planned giving and communication programs, and the led the fundraising team for the renovation of the university's baseball, softball, and soccer complexes.
Prior to working at MSU, Barber served as the assistant director of development at Miami University in Ohio where she participated in launching the athletics department's $30 million capital campaign, part of a university-wide $350 million campaign. She started her career at Arizona State University where she was mentored under the legendary athletics director Gene Smith.
She earned a Juris Doctorate (intellectual property) from Arizona State University and a bachelor's degree in political science from Howard University.
Tyrone McKinley Freeman is assistant professor of philanthropic studies and the director of undergraduate programs at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Previously, he served as a fundraiser for community development, youth social service and higher education organizations. He also served as the associate director of The Fund Raising School where he trained fundraising and nonprofit professionals across the United States and in Asia, Africa, and Europe. His research focuses on African American philanthropy in historical and contemporary contexts, the history of philanthropy, and philanthropy and fundraising in higher education. He is currently writing a book about Madam C.J. Walker and African American philanthropy during the early Jim Crow era.
His writings have appeared in the International Journal of Educational Advancement, Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, 3rd and 4th Editions, and Advancing Philanthropy. He is the co-author of Race, Gender and Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011. He earned a bachelor's degree in English/liberal arts from Lincoln University, a master's degree in urban and regional planning from Ball State University, a master's degree in adult education from Indiana University, and a doctorate in philanthropic studies from Indiana University.
Yolanda F. Johnson
Yolanda F. Johnson has had nearly two decades as a successful fundraising professional and nonprofit development executive. She is currently president of YFJ Consulting, LLC, a fundraising consultancy focused on major gifts, campaigns, individual giving, board development, and special events. To-date, she has successfully raised millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations, having launched several new fundraising and marketing initiatives; created special streams of earned income and special events, including creative strategies for partnerships and sponsorships; secured foundation, corporation and government funding, and cultivated a diverse major gifts portfolio.
A trailblazing figure on the New York City fundraising landscape, she is the first African-American president-elect in the 40-year history of Women in Development, NY (WiD), one of the NY Metro Area's premier professional fundraising organizations. In 2018, she helped design and launch WiD's first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, a two-year endeavor examining the lack of diversity in the field of NYC development and establishing and implementing concrete steps toward achieving diversity through WiD's robust programming platform.
Rose Mays is professor emeritus at the Indiana University School of Nursing at IUPUI. From 1973 until her recent retirement, she specialized in teaching pediatric nursing. For eight years, she served as the school's associate dean for community and international affairs and implemented a program of research and community service focused on health promotion and disease prevention for vulnerable adolescents.
Over the course of her career, Mays has demonstrated a sustained commitment to fostering diversity within her profession, her workplace and her community. Additionally, she serves on various boards and local service organizations. She earned her bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Evansville and her master's degree in pediatric nursing from IU. Her doctorate in nursing science is from the University of Texas at Austin.
Juan McGruder, Ph.D.
Juan McGruder is senior vice president and chief development officer at Junior Achievement Juan is Vice President for Advancement at Oglethorpe University. Serving as a key member of the President’s Cabinet, he is responsible for designing and executing the overall strategy for advancement. He leads Oglethorpe’s Advancement team, which includes Alumni Relations, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Donor Relations, Annual Fund, and Major and Principal Gifts. Most recently, he was Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer at Junior Achievement of Georgia, where he managed statewide comprehensive resource development activities throughout Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, and Savannah. Previously, he held advancement leadership positions at the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Institute of Technology, the Morehouse School of Medicine, and Clark Atlanta University (CAU). At CAU, he also served as Director of Development and Adjunct Professor in the School of Education. He is a founder of Men of Color in Development, a new professional development organization that launched during the pandemic.
Charlie Nelms is a transformational servant-leader, a motivational speaker and a consultant with expertise in higher education. He has more than 40 years of experience and leadership in student access, retention and graduation; institutional effectiveness; and strategic planning. The former chancellor of universities in North Carolina, Indiana, and Michigan, Nelms serves as a board member for leading educational associations and foundations across the United States. He is currently a senior scholar at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, providing leadership in assisting minority-serving institutions. He has also been a consultant for a wide range of higher education organizations.
Nelms is the recipient of numerous awards for his accomplishments in higher education, including two honorary doctorates and fellowships from the American Council on Education and the Ford Foundation. In 2012, President Obama honored him with the MLK Drum Major for Service Award for helping to address the most pressing needs in our communities and our nation. Nelms is a founding member of the Millennium Leadership Initiative and professor emeritus at Indiana University. During his tenure as chancellor of North Carolina Central University, U.S. News & World Report ranked NCCU as one of the best public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the nation for three consecutive years.
He is the founder and director of the Destination Graduation Initiative, which aims to increase retention and graduation rates at HBCUs. In 2011, Nelms published, A Call to Action, a policy directive intended to spur a national dialogue concerning the revitalization of HBCUs as an important sector of American higher education. Upon retiring as the 10th chancellor of North Carolina Central University in August 2012, he established the Destination Graduation Initiative (DGI) to assist Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) with increasing retention and graduation rates. The central dimension of DGI entailed using the expertise of senior higher education officials, policy experts and faculty to identify impediments to student academic success and to design strategies for improvement. DGI associates served as coaches to ensure implementation of recommended strategies. In 2013, he and a colleague received a grant, Leading to Completion (L2C), to design protocols, processes and procedures to assist MSIs with increasing retention and graduation rates.
David Thornton enters his eighth season with the Indianapolis Colts as the club's director of player engagement. Thornton's primary charge is the personal and professional growth of each player during and beyond their NFL experience. He tailors specific programs involving professional development, career exposure, financial education, and higher learning for members of the Colts. He serves as the liaison between the team, club personnel, and external resources. He provides evaluations for prospective college and professional players as well as assisting with game day operations. Thornton also coordinates the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship for the team.
He spent nine years in the NFL, four of which with Indianapolis from 2002 -05 and the last five with the Tennessee Titans from 2006-2010. In 121 career games (102 starts), Thornton totaled 730 tackles, 5.0 sacks, five interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 25 passes defended. In 2007, with the Titans, he was named the team's Ed Block Courage Award recipient. The following season, Thornton was voted the club's Walter Payton Man of the Year, a distinction he also earned twice with the Colts. During his career, Thornton was also nominated for the NFLPA's highest honor, the Byron "Whizzer" White Award on four occasions while receiving the President's Volunteer Service Award in 2008. He served in several leadership roles while playing which included defensive captain, NFL Player Advisory Board member and NFLPA Player Representative.
Roderick Wheeler is a philanthropy professional, advocate for social change, researcher and innovator with expertise in criminal justice, education, youth and workforce development, philanthropy, and investing in social enterprises.
Roderick volunteers as a steering committee member of the African American Legacy Fund of Indianapolis, a philanthropic initiative focused on addressing social-economic disparities experienced by African American. Roderick serves as Executive Director of Grassroots Grantmakers, the only philanthropic network that includes residents as members, and National Director of Insights and Impact for LeadersUp, a national talent development accelerator providing demand-driven workforce development strategies, specializing in serving opportunity youth.
Prior to his current roles, Roderick served in various national and local philanthropic roles including Manager of Community Health for IU Health, Director of Community Impact for Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), and Senior Program Director for Strada Education Network.
While serving in the U.S. Army, Roderick earned a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Leadership from Franklin University. Prior to public service, Roderick graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and African American Studies and went on to earn a Master’s in Public Affairs with a concentration in Urban Studies and Nonprofit Management.
A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Roderick is passionate about social innovation and investing in strategies that empower people, disrupts flawed social systems that stifle opportunity, and achieves social impact, especially within poor communities of color. Roderick is also passionate about coaching football, and serves as an assistant football coach at Indianapolis George Washington High School.