Dr. Keith Barber announced as East Tennessee Foundation’s next President and CEO

This afternoon the board of directors of East Tennessee Foundation (ETF) approved Keith Barber, Ed.D., as ETF’s next President and CEO. Barber’s tenure is planned to begin mid-April.

He dedicated 30 years of his career to the enhancement of higher education through philanthropy and volunteerism. Most recently, as Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement for the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and the UT Foundation for ten years, he and his team raised over $250 million. He was awarded the UT Foundation Professional/Academic Award for Outstanding Service in 2019 and has been recognized nationally for his service and leadership. Notably, he was responsible for securing the gift that led to the naming of the second-ever college of agriculture in the United States via philanthropy and the second-ever endowed international center for agriculture in the world. Prior to his leadership at UT, he provided philanthropic impact for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Clemson University, University of Georgia, University of Florida, and Florida Atlantic University.

Barber stated, “I recognize gracious investors, engaged volunteers, and resilient nonprofit partners contribute to the value and quality of life in East Tennessee. I look forward to the honor of leading East Tennessee Foundation’s team of professionals, along with the support of our board of directors, as we continue to pursue our vision of thriving communities powered by thoughtful giving.”

He was raised in rural North Carolina and earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from Appalachian State University. He completed his Doctor of Education in Leadership at Valdosta State University. He is married to Stephanie Russ-Barber, M.D., and they have four children.

Jeanette Kelleher, who has been serving as Interim President and CEO and has been employed by the Foundation for nearly 20 years, will return to her role as ETF’s Executive Vice President.

Barber was selected after a thorough candidate search was conducted by a committee representative of board, staff, grantees, and fund advisors. Bruce Hartmann, ETF Board Chair, shared, “We sincerely appreciate the dedication of time and care of duty taken by each of our search committee members. I would like to extend a huge thank you, on behalf of our board, to Amy Cathey, one of our former ETF board chairs, who led the committee.”