Jim Barksdale grew up in Atlanta, graduating from North Fulton High School. He left Atlanta to attend Vanderbilt University and the College of William & Mary. In 1977, he completed his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance.
In 1986 Jim returned to Atlanta to found Equity Investment Corporation. Under his tenure the firm managed assets for clients across the United States totaling over $5.6 billion. Jim currently manages socially responsible investment portfolios at the firm, including portfolios implementing Environmental, Catholic, Protestant, and United Nation’s Human Rights mandates.
Jim has a long association with music, having begun in Atlanta’s Highlander Band in elementary school. This love of music led him to found Pace Academy’s instrumental music program. He also organized and sponsored over 50 chamber music concerts at Northside Drive Baptist Church in a concert series called Music on a Hill between 2006 and 2012.
Jim’s other civic activities have included membership in the Carter Center Board of Councilors since 2008. In 2015, Jim initiated and was the lead donor for the installation of the Einstein statue at Georgia Tech University by famed sculptor Robert Berks. The statue is similar to the one installed on the mall in Washington, D.C., but the star chart at Einstein’s feet was changed to show the night sky over Atlanta on December 10, 1948, the date of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This was to honor Atlanta’s legacy of human rights, established through the life work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and President Jimmy Carter. In 2016, Jim served as Georgia’s Democratic candidate for the United States Senate.
Jim currently resides in Atlanta. He has two grown children, one of whom of is a professional violinist.