The Rev. Neil Blair has been appointed GBHEM’s executive director of Institutional Advancement with the responsibility of developing, implementing, and directing a comprehensive fundraising program for the Board.
Blair, whose appointment was confirmed by Bishop Bruce Ough (Dakotas-Minnesota Area), reports to General Secretary Kim Cape. He joined the Board on Feb. 1.
Blair will begin his work by surveying and interviewing United Methodist leaders in order to determine the best strategies for raising funds, such as by concentrating on working closely with bishops and conference foundations to raise funds for scholarships that may be used exclusively for students in their conference.
He will also support existing programs such as the Rev. Dr. Karen Layman Gift of Hope Scholarship, Africa University, and the Black College Fund.
“Building a donor prospect list will be vital to both the present and future work of GBHEM. It will be important to build an ongoing base of support. This donor base will become family with us, and will be contacted on a regular basis through mail, phone, e-mail, and visits to key donors,” Cape said.
Initial goals will be number of contacts completed, and the establishment of a limited number of consulting relationships which are expected to lead to significant funds raised for direct or indirect purposes related to the GBHEM’s mission and vision, Cape said.
Blair most recently served as president of The Foundation for Evangelism in Lake Junaluska, N.C. Prior to that time, he was the vice president for institutional advancement at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D. Additionally, he served 19 years in development at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri.
Blair is an ordained elder in the Dakotas Annual Conference and served eight years in the local church in the Missouri Conference.