“This is my dream job.  I wake up every morning excited for the work I will be able to accomplish" - Jim Van Wicklin 

President and CEO Jamie Heckerman announced today Jim Van Wicklin has been appointed the new Chief Development and Marketing Officer for Special Olympics Arizona. In this role, Van Wicklin will lead a team of fundraising and marketing professionals in support of the organization’s mission to empower the more than 180,000 Arizonans with intellectual disabilities to be healthy, productive, and respected members of society through year-round sports training, competitions, and support programs.

Van Wicklin joins Special Olympics Arizona after spending nearly twenty years in the non-profit sector, where he helped secure nearly $250 million in support of the organizations he served.

“Jim’s extensive background in the non-profit sector, along with his successes and strategies in maximizing fundraising campaigns really set him apart,” said Jamie Heckerman, President and CEO of Special Olympics Arizona.  “We are so excited to have him join the team and be a part of something really special.”

Van Wicklin has worked with a variety of charities including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, United Service Organizations, and multiple universities.  Most recently, he spent seven years at Arizona State University working in the College of Law and College of Business helping lead teams to secure more than $100 million in gifts.

His first connection to Special Olympics was in college in Tennessee, where he taught gymnastics and cheer to athletes in the area.

“There is nothing more rewarding than the smile on the face of an athlete receiving a medal for all of their hard work.  I cannot believe I now get to make this my career.  I’m a lucky guy,” Van Wicklin said.

Van Wicklin is also widely known for his expertise in strategy in relation to fundraising campaigns.  He teaches courses all over the country on how to maximize fundraising and increase retention through simple adjustments any organization can make.  He also has won numerous accomplishments for the achievement of numerous capital campaigns.  He was most recently honored as the Who’s Who of Development Professionals in the US.

Van Wicklin was a college volleyball player for Middle Tennessee State University where he eventually earned his bachelor’s degree in Advertising.  He was the winner of numerous awards and several of his ads were used by large corporations.  He earned his master’s degree in Business and Marketing from the University of Phoenix while managing a complex fundraising campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Van Wicklin is the father of three children – Faith (20), Christian (18), and Cross (16) – and resides in Chandler.  In his free time, he is a volleyball coach for a group of 15-year-old girls aspiring to make a national competition and earn a college scholarship.

“This is my dream job.  I wake up every morning excited for the work I will be able to accomplish,” Van Wicklin said.  “On top of that, this has to be one of the greatest group of coworkers anyone could ask for.  This is the greatest organization anyone could work for, and I cannot wait to help bring my experience and passion to the organization and be able to eventually provide more for our athletes.”

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