Arlis Whalum (BSBA Accounting, ’80) was recently appointed chief financial officer of the NAACP, the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States.
Whalum joins the NAACP at a critical time as the organization prepares for 2020 voter registration drives and census initiatives. She will oversee more than $26 million in annual revenue, ensuring that all financial decisions align with the NAACP’s values.
“There aren’t many opportunities that would draw me from Illinois, but the NAACP could,” the Roosevelt alumna told Nonprofit HR. “What an opportunity it is to contribute to an organization that is about justice and equality everywhere and for everyone.” She hopes to bring a financial mindset across teams as the organization continues to evolve.
After earning her undergraduate degree at Roosevelt, Whalum worked for the predecessors of EY and Baxter International before making a mid-career leap to the nonprofit sphere. She earned an MBA in nonprofit management and a Doctor of Ministry in nonprofit leadership from the Graduate Theological Foundation.
“Although there were tremendous learning opportunities from public accounting and the Fortune 500, I felt the need to be a part of something greater than making money,” she told Nonprofit HR. “I wanted to contribute to a work that improved the lives of others.”
Whalum previously served as director of finance for the American Planning Association and chief financial officer for the Professional Convention Management Association. She also volunteers with an association that provides leadership training to local church pastors and their ministry leaders.