J. Christopher Smith

Consulting Vice President

I thrive from sharing my knowledge and skills to optimize the development and advancement functions of each client.


J. Christopher Smith, CFRE, Consulting Vice President, brings to the firm over 25 years of development experience in higher education and academic medicine.

Chris recently began working at the University of California, Irvine as the Associate Vice Chancellor, Health Advancement. Previously, he worked at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Foundation where he integrated the UC Health Foundation operations into the UC Foundation. He was responsible for coordinating the team that designed the campaign for the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute that will lead to NCI designation. Additionally, he oversaw the design of the first Grateful Patient and Family Program for UC Health. During this time he held an adjunct faculty appointment at Xavier University.

Prior to his work at UC, Chris served as the Assistant Vice President for Development and Interim Associate Vice President for Development at the University of Utah Health Sciences, where he was responsible for managing 25 employees and the development support for all the service lines within University of Utah Health: University Hospital, College of Health, School of Medicine, College of Nursing, and College of Pharmacy. Additionally, he oversaw the annual fund, special events, and stewardship.

For nearly 15 years, he served at Purdue University in multiple roles. As Director of Advancement, College of Pharmacy, he was responsible for formulation and implementation of strategy for major gifts and all other advancement functions serving 9,000 alumni, and led the College’s fundraising for the $1.7 billion “Campaign for Purdue” effort. In his role as Director of Development, Krannert Graduate School of Management, he coordinated the first volunteer solicitation strategy among minority alumni, trained volunteers for individual solicitations, and oversaw total annual giving increase 234% over a three-year period.

Previously, Chris served as the Director of Development and Interim Capital Campaign Director at Marian College, where he oversaw a 300% increase in raised funds, formulated strategy and implementation of institutional fundraising activities, and supervised the Annual Fund and Corporate and Foundation Relations programs.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Georgetown University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami. Currently, he is Chair of the AAMC Group on Institutional Advancement and holds an adjunct faculty appointment at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Areas of Expertise
  • Campaign Planning
  • Grateful Patient + Family Programming
  • Healthcare & Academic Medicine Fundraising
  • Major + Principal Gifts Strategy
  • Major Gift Program Development
  • Volunteer Management

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