Jim Friend has served the Catholic Church in leadership positions for over 25 years. He began his career in parish ministry as a Youth Minister and later as a Parish Administrator. Serving full-time in parish life formed Jim to understand the daily challenges and joys of parish life and the importance of engaging the laity in the Church’s mission through Stewardship.
In 2002, Jim served the Diocese of Camden by co-directing an award-winning Diocesan Stewardship Initiative that resulted in engaging thousands of parishioners and increasing parish offertory across the diocese. The initiative was recognized by the International Catholic Stewardship Council’s (ICSC) “Total Diocesan Stewardship Effort” Award in 2004. As a fundraiser, Jim served many Catholic parishes raising millions of dollars for capital projects and increasing parish offertory throughout the mid-Atlantic.
In 2006 Jim was recruited by the Diocese of Allentown and served as Secretary for Stewardship and Development. In the diocese, he directed a team of professionals responsible for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, planned giving, parish stewardship, The Eastern Pennsylvania Scholarship Foundation, and Advancement 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 2014, Jim was recruited by the Faith in the Future Foundation as its first Chief Development Officer. At Faith in the Future, he 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.
Serving as a Managing Director for Changing Our World since 2018, Jim oversees the Faith-Based Division, working with Catholic Schools, parishes, dioceses, and colleges on Major Gifts, Annual Giving, and Capital Campaigns. In 2020/21, Jim has been proud to work with Chestnut Hill College to raise over $7.1 Million in the midst of the pandemic.
Jim is the Host of Changing Our World’s, Advancing Our Church podcast. A show that Jim created in 2017 as a means to contribute to the ongoing dialogue and formation around Catholic Stewardship, leadership, and Advancement. You can visit the show and listen to episodes at www.advancingourchurch.com.
A frequent presenter at national and regional conferences, Jim has presented topics on stewardship, development, school advancement, 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 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (cum laude) from West Chester University in 1998. He earned a Master’s Degree in English and Publishing from Rosemont College in 2002, where he delivered a student commencement address. He is a Candidate in his third year of Formation for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Allentown while he works on a Masters Degree in Theology. Jim volunteers as Chair of the Development Committee for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry and as vice-chair of the board for St. Ann School in Emmaus. Jim and his wife, Kristin, have three children and live in Eastern Pennsylvania.