Niles Sorensen’s advancement career began in 1981 when he joined the staff of Ketchum, Inc., a national fundraising consulting firm. Over the next fourteen years, he rose to become a senior vice president and member of the Executive Committee, responsible for the sales and supervision of the firm’s operations in the Southeast. In 1995, he joined the staff of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte—a two-time client—as the organization’s first full-time vice president for financial development. Sorensen was named the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles’ executive vice president for financial development in 1999, leading the fundraising efforts for the 28-branch, 100,000-plus member association. In 2006, he returned to Charlotte as the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte’s vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs and president of the university’s foundation. He was named vice chancellor for university advancement in 2010, adding university communications, constituent relations, and university events to his portfolio of responsibilities. Over his tenure at UNC at Charlotte, the university realized more than $400 million in gifts and commitments. As president of the foundation, Sorensen led the development of the $86 million UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel and Conference Center on property owned by the foundation, adjacent to the campus.
Sorensen is a 1978 graduate of Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and, after a 43-year classroom hiatus, earned his MA in history from UNC at Charlotte in 2021. While with the YMCA, Sorensen served on the board of the North American YMCA Development Organization and chaired a partnership uniting the national YMCA movements in the United States, Mexico, and Canada in the development of sound fundraising practices. He has also served on the boards of the Cabarrus County YMCA and the Levine Museum of the New South. Niles and his wife, Doreen, live in North Carolina.