Park University Promotes Melissa Ford to Chief Advancement Officer
December 1, 2023 — Melissa Ford has been appointed as the chief advancement officer at Park University, effective today. Ford takes over the role from Nathan Marticke, who left the University for a position at AdventHealth Kansas City Foundation.
In her role as CAO, Ford is charged with developing and executing comprehensive fundraising strategies that support the University’s mission and goals. She is responsible for growing the advancement program through annual giving, alumni relations, corporate and foundation relations, capital campaigns, major gifts, planned giving, stewardship, advancement services and special events. Ford will also work with the University’s Board of Trustees and the Park University International Center for Music Foundation Board to further strengthen philanthropic support in support of faculty and student endeavors with an established, successful advancement team.
“Melissa has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to cultivate donors and think strategically,” said Park University President Shane Smeed. “Her advancement and campaign experience, particularly in the sciences, has prepared her to lead our advancement efforts.”
Ford joined Park University in August as its associate vice president for advancement after coming from the University of Missouri – Kansas City where she served as director of philanthropic giving for the School of Science and Engineering since 2021. Ford has nearly two decades of experience fundraising for Kansas City nonprofits, including the Kansas City Ballet, Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri, and United WE. In addition, Ford served as executive director for the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America for more than five years.
Ford earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance performance from Oklahoma City University. A committed community volunteer, Ford serves as a Girl Scouts troop leader, is a member of the Kansas City Young Matrons and the Kansas City Ballet Guild’s Board of Directors, serving as its president in 2022-23.