Virgil E. Ecton, CFRE, is the Executive Vice President, Development for the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he is responsible for fostering a culture of philanthropy within the organization.
Virgil excelled both academically and athletically. His chosen sport, gymnastics, led him to being named the city and state all-around champion in the sport. His talent and enthusiasm for gymnastics earned him a scholarship at Indiana University where he obtained his BA in Education. Through his discipline and determination, Virgil became the first African-American gymnast to participate in the Big Ten Conference and became a Big Ten Champion. He then went on to earn his Master of Education at Xavier University. In addition, he successfully completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University.
He demonstrated his exemplary talent and commitment at the United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF). During his tenure at UNCF, Virgil took on progressive roles starting as area development director and eventually becoming the senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of the organization. He expertly developed the model used for UNCF’s national Lou Rawls Parade of Stars (LRPS) telethon, sponsorship marketing package, and fundraising manual. The LRPS was the first national telethon for higher education and the only telethon dedicated to raising funds for historically black colleges and universities. He also played a leadership role in delivering the largest gift to UNCF from Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg at $50 million, and Bill and Melinda Gates at $1 billion.
Virgil later served as vice president of advancement at Howard University in Washington, DC. He was the driving force behind the university’s $250 million capital campaign, which exceeded its goal by $27 million. After eight years of service, he assumed the role of vice president for federal affairs and capital campaign at Tuskegee University. As evidenced of his strategic approach, Virgil developed the university’s capital campaign plan which involved all aspects of the university community.
Virgil is affiliated with a number of professional, social and community service organizations where he devotedly shares his time and talent. A native of Kentucky, Virgil currently lives in Oakton, Virginia with his wife, Harriette. He is the father of three adult children.