About JF Smith Group
The J.F. Smith Group is a project management firm in fund-raising. We emphasize the term “project management” because we become a member of your team. Our associates are extremely hands-on and help manage every phase of a feasibility study and/or capital campaign. Instead of cheering you on from the sidelines, we are in the game with you, assisting you every step of the way.
The J.F. Smith Group believes in a staff-driven approach to fund-raising. While volunteers do play a vital role in any fund-raising effort, JFSG puts the leadership and responsibility in the hands of our associates and the key players from your organization. Unlike some consulting firms, our senior staff is directly involved in every campaign we conduct. As part of this staff-driven approach, JFSG conducts in-depth solicitation training to members of your organization using a proven 5-step approach. One of our main goals is to leave you better equipped in the areas of development after our time together has come to an end.
Our philosophy is simple – Provide quality service, do more than we are paid to do, and build long lasting relationships with the clients we serve.
We’re committed to serving you with all of our experience…
The JFSG Story
Jerry Smith has always enjoyed building – starting with nothing and having nowhere to go but up. That’s how the J.F. Smith Group came into existence in 1991.
Jerry’s career began when he started the first track program at Livingston University (now University of West Alabama) in 1965. At the time, they had no track, equipment or team. Jerry spent seven years coaching and building the track program at Livingston, competing with the best teams in the South.
In 1971, Jerry moved to Auburn University in Auburn, AL, where he had similar success helping them rebuild their track and field teams to a championship level. When Jerry arrived back on the AU campus, Auburn had only one All-American in track. When he left in 1977, Auburn had 157 All-Americans.
Jerry moved over to the AU Alumni and Development Office in January of 1977, and the university immediately began laying the ground work for Auburn’s first major capital campaign. The goal was $61.7 million, and AU raised $110 million with the help of three development officers.
These three stops in Jerry’s career illustrate his passion for being part of something that is growing and constantly improving. The J.F. Smith Group was founded in the same way. In 1991, Jerry was asked to speak to the board of trustees of a large Christian school in Birmingham, AL, to offer advice with regard to a possible capital campaign. At the end of the meeting, Jerry was asked if he would take the job.
Since 1991, JFSG has grown from two employees to twenty. The basic philosophy the J.F. Smith Group started with is still the same – provide quality service, do more than we are paid to do, and build long lasting relationships with the clients we serve.
“To enable our clients to fulfill their dreams through a unique, educational, professionally-directed development partnership.”