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James A. Knappjames

Associate Vice President of Development

( 561) 803-2148 |
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As the Associate Vice President of Development, James leads the Development Office and fundraising initiatives for the University to ensure PBA is meeting its motto of enlightening minds, enriching souls, and extending hands. James is also responsible for propelling PBA’s strategic vision through developing meaningful relationships and partnerships on behalf of the University, ensuring the PBA’s mission is carried out campus-wide, and connecting various functions within the community and campus landscape for sustainable success. Within the scope of fundraising, James recognizes opportunities, creates strategies, and executes based on the University’s strategic vision.
James has served as the Chief Strategy Officer at The Cushman School, where he worked alongside the head of school to lead their board of trustees and community to build a vision and corresponding strategy that exceeded expectations and empowered a new level of success. This included a new state-of-the-art building as well as the overall largest fundraising numbers ever recorded.
James has also served as Director of Community Relations at Florida International University (FIU), Director of Strategic Partnerships at FIU’s Office of Engagement, and Director of Development for FIU’s Honors College. During his time at FIU, James guided the President’s Council, developed community relations strategies, and created meaningful collaborations to advance stronger community ties through relationships and partnerships in key areas. He managed FIU’s most important collaborations, including Life Sciences South Florida, the Talent Development Network, the FIU Veterans Initiative, the Engagement Advisory Council, and FIU’s municipal partnerships. He designed and implemented development strategies in which he raised more than two million dollars by cultivating and soliciting philanthropic support from multiple donor channels.
James has over 15 years of exponential experience in higher education and organizational leadership. He was named one of South Florida Business Journal's 40 under 40 for 2018 and recognized as a part of the Winners Circle for the Top Leader in the Under 35 for the LEAD initiative. He currently serves as the chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) Education Committee and on the board of the Miramar Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce. In addition, James volunteers his time with several community organizations helping at-risk youth, including serving on the board with the Lil Abner Foundation and working as a leadership facilitator for the Do What Counts organization.
James was part of the 37th class of Leadership Broward, was a L.E.A.P participant and a part of the High Potential Leader Program which focus on enhancing workforce and leadership excellence. He was selected to participate in the inaugural Florida International University (FIU) President Mark B. Rosenberg Presidential Leadership Program, a professional development program designed for employees under 50 years of age interested in solidifying a career track in higher education.
James earned both his Bachelor of Science in Sports Management and a Master’s of Science in Higher Education Administration from FIU and is currently working on a Doctorate in Business Administration at St. Thomas University.


“Giving is one of the most powerful acts that can transform a life! The generosity of people toward me changed the course of my life so profoundly. I am passionate about creating meaningful opportunities for people to partner with PBA in equipping and empowering a new generation of servant-leaders."  James A. Knapp
Associate Vice President of Development