Joe April

Partner & Community College Division Director

I was not a great student in high school, so when I went to college, I didn’t take school seriously and eventually flunked out. I found myself in the office of a transfer counselor at St. Petersburg Junior College in Florida — and she changed my life. She helped me get tutoring, scholarships, and academic support services and met with me every Friday to ensure I stayed on track. She held my hand, kicked my butt, and patted me on the back — but she made sure I stuck through school. I eventually transferred to the University of South Florida but my start and passion for Community Colleges began at St. Pete JC.

That counselor changed my life and opened the door to my future.

Today, I have the opportunity to work with Community Colleges across the country to raise funds so today’s students have the same financial and academic support and help that were there for me. I take great personal and professional pride in helping Community College’s keep the door to a college degree open for anyone who wants it.

Full Bio

Joe has more than 30 years of experience in community college resource development programs as a staff member and consultant. His professional expertise includes major gift campaigns, planned giving, and strategic planning for foundation boards and advancement teams. As a consultant, Joe has led more than 55 feasibility studies, development assessments, foundation strategic plans, community summits, industry forums, and alumni strategic planning efforts. Since 2012, he served as a partner and executive vice president for two consulting companies where he was the lead consultant on over 30 projects, including 13 major gift campaigns, all of which exceeded their funding goals.

As a former Region I Director for the Council for Resource Development (CRD), he has chaired three of the organization’s national conferences. In addition to CRD, Joe is actively involved in the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), where he regularly speaks at their regional and national conferences.

Prior to becoming a full-time consultant, Joe served as the Chief Advancement Office at the following institutions: Holyoke Community College, MA; MassBay Community College; and the Community College of Rhode Island. This wealth of experience makes Joe an invaluable resource to our community college clients.

Summary of Experience

  • Personally solicited and closed over $40 million in major and planned gifts as a staff member of various college advancement teams.
  • Practical, hands-on experience leading numerous institutions from campaign into a diversified, comprehensive, and sustainable development program.
  • Possesses a strong record of creating mission-focused staff and volunteer teams, including recruiting a completely new Foundation Board and Alumni Council at MassBay Community College.
  • Led six comprehensive major gift / capital campaigns, which collectively secured over $55 million, exceeding goal in each.
  • Campaign consultant on over 30 major gift / capital campaigns which raised a total of over $265 million.
  • Worked in 25 states across the country, from Maine to Florida to California, and internationally.
  • Frequent conference speaker, including keynoting the 2015 AFP Iowa State-Wide Conference where he presented on generational giving trends.
  • AA from St. Petersburg Junior College and BA in Economics from the University of South Florida.

Joe April is a consummate professional who always has the best interests of the client at the forefront of his work. I’ve been around for a while and I know the cookie cutter approach when I see it. Joe doesn’t work that way. He quickly assessed our situation and provided unique solutions to the issues we faced based on research and his own vast experience. He is the expert when it comes to fundraising and practical leadership issues for community colleges.

G. Edward Hughes,
Founding President Emeritus,
Gateway Community & Technical College, KY

In a short period of time, Joe helped us assess the state of our development program and board involvement and effectiveness, as well as community support. His expertise and knowledge of best practices in the community college world is outstanding. Joe took my board from a one-dimensional mission to a broad and compelling vision and mission, encompassing the college as a whole, effectively setting our Foundation up to succeed now and into the future.

Rachelle L. Karstens, J.D.,
Executive Director, Philanthropy & Alumni Relations,
Indian Hills Community College, IA

Working with Joe April to prepare my college for its first comprehensive capital campaign has been a joy. His wealth of advancement and community college experience, as well as his strong leadership and fundraising skills, have greatly benefitted our institution and me, personally.

Christopher M. Reber, Ph.D.,
President,
Community College of Beaver County, PA