March 26, 2024

Vital Link President April Barnes Appointed to Irvine Forward Foundation Board of Directors

April Barnes, president of Vital Link, has been appointed to the Irvine Forward Foundation Board of Directors.

The Irvine Forward Foundation—a 501(c)(3) charitable organization established by the Greater Irvine Chamber in 2019 to support educational achievement through scholarships, career readiness programs, and community engagement—has awarded more than $130,000 in scholarships to area students.

A seasoned nonprofit executive, Barnes has met community needs, ranging from healthcare to youth and workforce development, through leading strategic planning, branding, marketing, fundraising, and logistics for organizations across the country.

Since joining the Orange County-based nonprofit focused on career exploration experiences for youth, Barnes has led Vital Link through a brand transformation, expanded programming for middle school students, and spearheaded the launch of a leadership conference attended by approximately 700 youth in its inaugural year.

Barnes has served on the EXP advisory board, where she collaborated with staff and educators to create opportunities for students in the healthcare industry. She has lent her expertise to Long Beach Unified School District, helping to start a nonprofit entity that connected students with the business community for internships and career exposure.

Barnes has worked in the development offices for hospitals including City of Hope, Community Hospital of Long Beach, and Long Beach Medical Center, Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach. She has held leadership roles with regional organizations such as the American Lung Association and the Speech and Language Development Center.

Committed to community advancement, Barnes serves on the executive committee of the North Orange County Chamber of Commerce, where she recently served as board chair. In 2020, the Greater Irvine Chamber named her a 40 Under 40 honoree, and in 2023, the Los Angeles Times named her an Orange County Visionary.  

Barnes earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Contributions to the Irvine Forward Foundation may be tax-deductible (Tax ID: 20-4160663).

For information about the scholarships and supporting the work of the foundation, contact Greater Irvine Chamber Executive Vice President and Irvine Forward Foundation Executive Director Jessica Welch, ACE, IOM.

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