February Staff Spotlight: Jim Barco


Where are you originally from?

Miami, Florida.

How long have you been living in Gainesville?

I’ve lived here for about 15 years. I had previously lived further north and realized that it was just too cold!

Where did you go to college?

I received my degree in business from Catawba College in North Carolina.

What is your position at Red Cross & what do you do?

My official title is major gift officer; however, I like to call myself the philanthropy officer. The word philanthropy sounds like a higher calling and something that is innately inside all of us. Major gift officer can sometimes scare people off, but the term philanthropy resonates better with people. The purpose of my job is to determine what our main priorities are as an organization, and to figure out how to partner with those who are willing to fund those priorities.

What inspired you to work at Red Cross?

The reputation speaks for itself. Why wouldn’t I want to work for an organization that only spends $0.09 to raise $1.00? There is a clear mission at the Red Cross to help those affected by disasters and emergencies. The Red Cross offers a hand up rather than a hand out and I think that’s great. No one intends to burn their house and lose all their possessions. A fire starts and gets out of control and your whole life is turned upside down. It’s easy to empathize with our clients and put yourself in their shoes.

What advice do you have for anyone interested in working with Red Cross?

You have to realize that you are truly making a difference in people’s lives. You can’t approach employment or volunteering here casually. It takes lots of dedication to be involved in this organization. This is a calling. We are serving the community 24/7 and not many non-profits can say that. If you have the time and you are willing to put the work in to make a difference, then we welcome you with open arms.


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