Miami Gardens, FL – The Miami Dolphins today named Jesse Marks Executive Director of the Miami Dolphins Foundation. In his role, Marks will provide strategic leadership for the foundation and steer it to achieve its full mission and financial objectives. Additionally, he will develop and execute a successful and diversified fundraising strategy and serve as an ambassador of the foundation's efforts.
Marks will direct and lead the foundation's signature fundraising events, including the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, which has raised more than $32.5 million for innovative cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, as well as Fins Weekend, featuring coaches and players with funds benefiting education.
"We are excited to have Jesse join our team," said Tom Garfinkel, Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Miami Dolphins. "He brings an impressive track record of success and has longstanding and meaningful relationships throughout South Florida. Jesse is extremely passionate and is deeply familiar with the Dolphins Cancer Challenge having been at the University of Miami and our foundation mission of helping to make South Florida healthier, educated and more united."
A two-time University of Miami graduate and south Florida native, Marks spent three years as the Miami Hurricanes Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development, a position to which he was promoted in August 2016. During his career with Hurricanes Athletics, Marks was responsible for all development operations for the department of athletics, including campaign oversight, major giving, annual fund, donor stewardship, event hospitality and coordination with central advancement efforts. Marks also was the sport administrator for the nationally ranked men's tennis program.
He was previously promoted to Associate AD for Development in November 2012 following two years as Assistant Athletics Director for Major Gifts.
After Marks' arrival in 2010, the Hurricane Club saw significant growth in major giving and annual giving participation. During his tenure as head of the Hurricane Club, Miami Athletics raised more than $210 million, enhancing their core athletic facilities and student-athlete services through private philanthropy. Notable projects during this time included the $18 million Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence, completed in 2013, and the $40 million Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility, completed in November 2018. There were multiple million-dollar renovation projects funded through various fundraising campaigns under Marks' direction, including updates to the Watsco Center (on-campus basketball arena), the Hecht Athletic Center and the creation of the Women's Golf Practice Facility at the historic Biltmore Hotel.
Marks has been a part of two major capital campaigns at the University of Miami: the Momentum Campaign, which raised over $1 billion for the university, and Momentum2, which was a university-wide $1.6 billion campaign. Under Marks' leadership, athletics raised more than $85 million toward the Momentum Campaign and raised over $118 million toward Momemtum2.
Prior to his role in to Miami Athletics, Marks served as Assistant Director of Development at Wake Forest University, where he managed relationships for over 150 athletic donors in the southeast, including South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida.
Marks is an active member of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) and served as an adjunct professor in the School of Education Sports Administration Program teaching Sport Promotions and Sales. In 2019, Marks was recognized by the South Florida Business Journal as a "Forty Under 40" honoree, representing top young professionals in the South Florida community.
Marks earned his bachelor's degree from Miami in 2005 and his master's in 2008. He resides in Coconut Grove with his wife Caroline and son Bradley.