July 20th, 2020

Board selects new CEO

The Arete Scholars Fund Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Jim Smith as its new Chief Executive Officer. With extensive executive experience in professional sports, entertainment and education, Jim has spent more than 25 years helping people connect more deeply with each other, their communities, and iconic institutions and brands. Jim has already begun working with outgoing president and cofounder Derek Monjure to transition leadership duties.

“I’ve known and worked with Jim for many years,” said Board Chair Greg Beadles, EVP – Chief Financial & Administrative Officer for AMB Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE). “No one is better qualified to lead Arete into our next ten years of serving the educational needs of marginalized families and students.”

From The Ohio State University, the Atlanta Falcons Football Club and AMBSE, to Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew and the World Wrestling Federation, Jim has excelled at building relationships with internal and external business and community partners, key stakeholders, and staff members at all levels of every organization he’s served.

In his most recent leadership role as president and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association (OSUAA), Jim led a team responsible for representing and advocating for over 570,000 alumni worldwide and helped grow annual giving revenue to a record $44 million. The association has more than 50 societies and 125 clubs throughout the world. During Smith’s time, those groups awarded nearly $4.5 million in scholarships to almost 2,700 students.

“Education has always been very important to me, particularly the education of at-risk students,” said Smith. “I’m honored to be continuing the good work Derek and his team started and am confident that Arete and our partners will continue to see lives changed and communities transformed.”

Before returning to his alma mater in 2016, Jim spent 12 years rising through the ranks of the Atlanta Falcons Football Club and AMBSE. Jim managed a team of 79 executives in overseeing sales, service, marketing, digital creative, and Atlanta Falcons event operations. During his tenure, the Falcons’ famous “Rise Up” campaign, starring Samuel L. Jackson, captured the pride and determination of the whole city. Jim also negotiated the acquisition of the Atlanta United Major League Soccer franchise and oversaw launch activities, including recruiting a team president.

Prior to joining the Falcons, Jim served as president and general manager of Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew from 2000 to 2004 and was named MLS Executive of the Year in 2001.

Jim earned a Master of Arts in Sports Management from Ohio State and Bachelor of Science in Communications from Northwestern University. He and his wife Polly live in the Atlanta area. They have four children.

Please help us welcome Jim to the team at Arete Scholars. 

About Arete Scholars Fund

Arete Scholars gives kids in need a chance by giving their parents a choice. Through K-12 scholarships and student-focused programming, Arete is helping transform the lives of those who face the greatest obstacles to academic and personal achievement.