Director of Development

Marissa Barnes is the Director of Development and works on all things fundraising and development. Marissa builds relationships with new and existing donors, and works closely with the Executive Director and Chicago Debates Governing Board to raise funds to close the educational opportunity gap for the students we serve. 

Marissa is mission driven and has held diverse roles in working in different nonprofits throughout the state of Illinois She has a B.S. in Recreation and Park Administration from Illinois State University and a MS in Recreation, Sport and Tourism from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Marissa is an Executive Board member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Chicago as well as an Annual Fellow of the Development Leadership Consortium. 

Being the first Director of Development at Chicago Debates and a former debater, Marissa is excited to build the program and ensure that every Chicago Public School student that wants a debate experience can have one. 

Outside of work, Marissa enjoys reading in the park, traveling all over the country for concerts and music festivals, spending time outside, and exploring the city!