Rev. Dr. Eugene Barnes was born in St. Louis, and moved to Champaign in 2000. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Metanoia Centers, a 501(c)3 community‐based organization founded in 2000 that serves as a catalyst for improving both the physical and economic health of residents in Central Illinois. Rev. Dr. Barnes combines over 40 years of experience in social work with community organizing beginning with the NAACP in 1965. He has been instrumental in forming twelve nonprofits from the east coast to the Midwest. His most recent accomplishment was being invited to the White House for the signing of the historical Financial Reform Bill of 2010. He has won the Delaware state TRIO Outstanding Service award, Wilmington City Council award for New Directions Summer Youth Program, Phyllis K. Washington Outstanding Leadership award, and is listed in the 2000 edition of Who’s Who International Entrepreneurs. Dr. Barnes holds a PH.D. in theology, graduating Cum Laude, from Slidell Baptist Seminary in Slidell, Louisiana and is an associate minister at New Life Church of Faith of Champaign‐Urbana.

Eugene was featured in Difference Makers 2010: An eBlack Champaign-Urbana Publication.