Rodney Parks

Senior Director of Major and Planned Gifts

Rodney O. Parks joined the University of Arkansas Fort Smith Foundation as its Senior Director of Major and Planned Gifts in August 2015.  He leads a five person team in planned giving, major gifts and annual giving; he also manages a major gifts portfolio.  While at Philander Smith College (2008-2015), he helped to increase alumni giving from 4% to 19%, increased the planned giving portfolio from 15 to 40 planned gifts.  He also secured $1M in government appropriations.  He has qualified to receive the Crystal Apple Award (Excellence in Teaching) from the Council for Advancement & Support of Education (CASE).  He has served as CASE faculty on planned giving, major gifts and annual fund.


Parks is a former Fortune 100 manager for Merrill Lynch, has over 20 years of finance, leadership, and management development experience. He is a much sought-after speaker, delivering presentations, facilitating seminars and keynote addresses for leadership retreats, corporate meetings, sales training and university orientations.  Organizations have consistently found his presentations to be compelling, inspiring, and motivational.


Parks has highly developed interpersonal skills that have led to promotions in positions of leadership and management where he has been able to continuously deliver measurable and profitable results.  As an active community member in the State of Arkansas, his leadership qualities have been noted by the following organizations:  Former Chairman - State Banking Board of Arkansas, Former Board Member – Arkansas Tech University Foundation, Former Vice President-Leadership --  Association of Fundraising Professionals, Former Board Member – Little Rock School District Audit Committee, Leadership Arkansas Class I (2007), Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 (2007), Former Board of Trustees - Arkansas District Judges Retirement System, Former President - Arkansas Tech University Alumni Association and Current Member – Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation.


Parks is a 1991 graduate of Arkansas Tech University with a major in Economics and Finance.  He is married to the former Carmen Hamilton and has twin daughters.



Diverse Wealth Transfer - (Banking/Finance) Diverse Wealth Transfer is the transfer of income or assets from individuals or families of minority status (ethnic, gender or orientation) to other causes or concerns (which can include family, religion, education or non-profit). Points covered in this presentation include statistics, the Trust Factor, and strategies and opportunities. 


GPS Leadership - (Leadership/Motivational) How to Grow, Protect & Share Your Leadership Brand.  Develop the skills that make people and institutions want to follow you. Harness collaborative leadership capacities that generate growth. Points covered in this presentation are collaborative leadership, value, analysis, innovation and feedback. 


Building Leadership Capacity - (Students/Athletes) How to develop your value proposition in the classroom, organizations and community. Learn methods of branding through service, stewardship and smarts. Points covered in this presentation are leadership and communication skills. 


App Training for Business Operations, Marketing & Connections - (Sales/Marketing) How to manage while mobile.  What apps can help your business grow.  Professional and personal uses of the iPad and smartphones that keep you ahead. Points covered in this presentation are apps for productivity, communications and marketing.


Philanthropy As Economic Development - (Non-Profit) Understand how economic development shifts from government appropriations and earmarks to corporate, foundation and family philanthropy.  How to position your organization for philanthropy and investment. Points covered in this presentation are value proposition, government relationships, collaborative non-profits, and grantwriting.


Diversity/Inclusion Leadership - (Leadership) How to grow the value of diversity and inclusion in an organization from the boardroom, executive office and management team.  Learn strategic advantages for your organization in marketing, branding, customer development and community engagement. Points covered in this presentation are benefits, opportunities and metrics. 

Rodney Parks