The University of New Orleans’ Office of University Advancement has named a 30-plus year veteran of the nonprofit development world as its new director of development.
Jeff Bush, 53, joins the UNO from the American Red Cross, Louisiana Region. But the breadth of his experience includes 12 years at Tulane University, where he was instrumental in the success of several key fundraising campaigns following Hurricane Katrina.
Bush said that UNO is ripe with potential for increased fundraising and alumni giving and participation. Though the university, founded in 1958, is comparatively young in terms of building its philanthropic support, the diversity, strength and leadership of its graduates in New Orleans and beyond provide a testament to the school’s critical role.
“I believe UNO is one of the best-kept secrets and one of the best values in education,” Bush said.
A native of Bogalusa, Bush graduated from Bogalusa High School before attending Southeastern Louisiana University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in management and finance in 1984.
He began his fundraising career with the Boy Scouts of America in Houston, Texas, where he ascended to director of annual giving. In 2000, he moved back to Louisiana with his wife, Meredith, a native of Covington, when he was named director of annual giving at Tulane.
During his tenure at Tulane, he also served as associate vice president of individual giving and senior associate finance vice president of constituency programs. Bush helped oversee the success of the school’s Hurricane Rebuilding Fund following Hurricane Katrina as well as its Promise and Distinction Campaign.
In 2012, Bush joined the Louisiana 4-H Foundation as executive director and most recently served as the chief development officer for the American Red Cross in Louisiana.
Tony Gregorio, president and chief executive officer of the University of New Orleans Foundation, said Bush's experience make him a great asset. "He is skilled at both the tactical aspects of development and the strategic elements needed to build a successful and sustainable advancement program," Gregorio said. "He has been successful at every position he has held and I am confident he will be successful here at the University of New Orleans. We are fortunate to have him join us.”
Bush said his first priority in his new role is to increase unrestricted giving and alumni participation in the UNO First Fund, the university’s initiative to meet the demands of every college, department and activity. The fund provides resources for student scholarships, research, faculty support and community outreach efforts.
“Philanthropy is a way you can have a direct and transformative impact on education,” Bush said. It has the power to fill the gap of expenses that are not otherwise covered by tuition and state funds, he said.
Bush will be responsible for the overall administration of the University’s development program, which also includes the UNO Calling Center, major gifts program and planned giving programs.
Jeff and Meredith Bush reside in Covington. They are parents to four children whose ages span four decades. They also have one grandchild. Their third-born, a senior at Covington High School, is currently exploring university options, and according to Jeff Bush is “seriously considering UNO.”
Bush issued an invitation to all alumni visiting New Orleans to pay a visit UNO’s Office of University Advancement.“There’s an open invitation and someone will be here to greet you,” he said.
He also put out the call to alumni interested in volunteering their time to reach their classmates and related outreach. When asked what number folks should call, Bush didn’t hesitate.
“You can put my number on it,” he said. “I’m ok with that.”
Bush can be reached at 504-280-3996.