Office of Development

Getting to Know You

N. Kurt Barnes – TREASURER and CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER 
June 25, 2020

Being given the responsibility for managing the Office of Development for The Episcopal Church since October 2018 takes me back to where my career in finance started more than 30 years ago. Sort of.

In the summer before I began graduate studies in economics at Harvard, I decided that I wanted to run an art gallery. Thinking otherwise, my father commissioned me to do a study of the failure rate among small art galleries. Of the first eight numbers I called for research, four were disconnected. So, I went to Cambridge, Mass. A year later, Professor John Kenneth Galbraith agreed to supervise my reading on the financial management of arts organizations. I got a job as an editor of Fortune Magazine and turned my research into my first two stories. After a couple years writing for “Luchre” (my tongue-in-cheek name for Fortune), I decided that businesspeople weren’t so bad. So, I continued down the road making venture capital investments, financing a global mining company and managing pension funds at an investment management firm—a combination of asset gathering and multiplying the assets.  

At some point, my local rector recommended me to serve on the diocesan investment committee, using my day job skills to serve a not-for-profit organization. When the diocesan bishop later suggested I consider working for the “national church,” I laughed. That was 16 years ago.  

During the first 14 years, my job as treasurer and chief financial officer was managing and conserving assets. I suspect that Presiding Bishop Curry decided I could have a deeper appreciation for asset management if I also had the challenge of asset gathering, meaning fundraising.   

Bishop Michael was right (he always is). The last two years have reinvigorated my service. I enjoy knowing everything my six Office of Development colleagues are doing. I’ve become a strong advocate that “development” is 90 percent of the work, and fundraising is the easy 10 percent.   

I’m still an introvert and prefer meetings that are brief without “check-ins.” But we can’t always get what we want (e.g., General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera). God does, however, give us what we need and what He wants needs.  

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CONTACT:
Julia Alling - Annual Appeal Manager
jalling@episcopalchurch.org
212-716-6041

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