Jim Friend – Bio

Jim has served the Catholic Church in leadership positions for over 25 years. His passion for serving Catholic institutions started with his parish career in the 1990s as a Youth Minister, Director of Religious Education and eventually a Parish Administrator. It was this formative time serving in parishes that helped Jim to discover what it means to be a Stewardship Parish and how to engage the laity in the mission of the Church. 

In 2002, Jim ventured into consulting where he co-directed a Diocesan Stewardship Initiative in the Diocese of Camden that resulted in engaging parishioners and increasing parish offertory. Jim co-authored Stewardship materials that won the International Catholic Stewardship Council’s (ICSC) “Total Diocesan Stewardship Effort” Award for the Diocese of Camden in 2004. As a fundraising consultant, Jim also served a number of Catholic parishes raising millions of dollars for capital projects and increasing parish offertory. 

In 2006 Jim was recruited by the Diocese of Allentown and served as Secretary for Stewardship and Development. In the diocese, Jim directed a team of professionals who were responsible for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, planned giving, parish stewardship, The Eastern Pennsylvania Scholarship Foundation and Development and Marketing for Catholic schools. In 2010 the Diocese of Allentown won first place from the ICSC for “Total Annual Appeal Effort” for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.

In 2010, Jim assisted the Most Reverend John O. Barres, Bishop of Allentown, to form the Bishop’s Commission on Catholic Schools (BCCS), a group of lay business leaders and entrepreneurs who were tasked with addressing more than a decade of declining enrollment, business and governance issues for the Diocesan Catholic School system. As a result of the BCCS, Diocesan staff and a school system-wide effort, the Diocese of Allentown grew Catholic School enrollment as a system for two consecutive years.

In 2016, Jim was recruited by the Faith in the Future Foundation as its first Chief Development Officer. Faith in the Future’s mission was unique in the United States because it was the only organization at the time to enter into a management agreement with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to assume operational responsibility for its 17 high schools and four schools of special education. At Faith in the Future, Jim led high school fundraising in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from $13.1 million to $25.1 million. Simultaneously at the Foundation, he built a development program from the ground up to raise over $5 million in his last year for a total impact of nearly $31 million for the schools. 

Jim’s work has been recognized by his peers. He is a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences and workshops on stewardship, development, school marketing, and governance. In November 2013 the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored Jim with the Award for Outstanding Fundraising Executive.

Jim graduated cum laude from West Chester University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and earned a Master’s Degree in English and Publishing from Rosemont College where he delivered one of the commencement addresses at graduation.

Jim and his wife Kristin have three children and live in Eastern Pennsylvania.