by Matt Kupec
September 28, 2019
Philanthropy plays a critical role in our society. In 2018, Americans gave $427.71 to charities, a record level. Of the total amount, $58.72 million went to support education. In higher education these dollars help colleges and universities recruit and retain students and faculty, improve and build facilities, strengthen academic programs and support cutting edge research.
At a luncheon with Southern Illinois University alumni earlier this week, I had the chance to make the following points to the Saluki alumni pitch about the important role philanthropy plays for the University:
- Philanthropy Provides the “margin of excellence.” Universities generate revenue from a variety of sources. These include state appropriations (for public universities), tuition, research (for research institutions), philanthropic support and auxiliary revenue. In many instances, dollars raised from philanthropy will be mingled together with other revenue sources to start a new program or build a new facility. Philanthropy provides “the margin of excellence,” that is the money from private gifts gives organization the funds needed to complete a project, an initiative or a fund. Without philanthropy, that project would not have been able to be completed. As state budgets get tighter, private giving is playing an even more important role in allowing Universities to meet the challenges that await them.
- Philanthropy Sends a powerful message. At Universities, the allegiance of alumni to support their alma mater is often a key criteria used corporations and foundations will ask when making a decision about supporting the institution. If alumni will give back financially to their institution than they must think their experience at the University was a worthwhile and important experience. Even the U.S. News and World Report allocates 5% of a University’s overall ranking for a category known “alumni support,” the percentage of alumni that support their university., when calculating all the factors in their rankings formula.
- Philanthropy Connects you to the University. At the lunch I mentioned earlier, SIU alumni discussed a number of ways alumni can help their alma mater – attend events, serve as a mentor for undergraduates, provides internships and externships, help undergraduate admissions with recruiting, help new graduates with their job search. Making a financial philanthropic gift to your alma mater is another way to connect you to your university.
- Philanthropy is A great way to help your University. Even if you are so busy with work, your family and other community engagements and one doesn’t have much time to get with their alma mater, the alumnus can make a philanthropic gift which serves as a great connector. It also provides the alumnus a way to make an impact at their alma mater.
Many traits create a successful and effective leader. Skills and expertise are a large part of those traits and are completely necessary to be a good leader, but there are other important aspects that come into play. Having the ability to create relationships within...
Highly successful fundraising leader with nearly $5 billion raised
- Fundraising professional with 30+ years of significant higher education and healthcare development experience
- Significant track record of increasing philanthropic support
- Directed three major fundraising campaigns
- Nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership
About Matt Kupec
Matt Kupec is a fundraising professional with 35 years of significant development experience as the chief development officer at institutions in higher education and healthcare. Here is just a sampling of what has been accomplished under his leadership:
- Nearly $5 billion has been raised to support people, programs and facilities
- He has directed three successful major fundraising campaigns
- The Carolina First Campaign at UNC-Chapel Hill was the 5th most successful university campaign ever in US history.
- Development programs have been recognized as being among the finest in the country.
- Secured many seven and eight figure gifts, including four $50M+ gifts
Matt’s leadership style has been shaped by the many experiences in his lifelong journey as a professional fundraiser. His interactions with leaders in higher education, health care, business, government and the non-profit sector – and even his role as the quarterback of his college football team – have helped to inform his leadership style.
What drives Matt Kupec in his work is his belief that philanthropy does play an important role in providing critical resources to help an organization fulfill its objectives. Fundraising has an impact. Gifts that are secured can truly transform the lives of thousands of people. Matt sees this as a window of opportunity to really make a difference in the world we live. This mentality and vision shapes his overall passion and work ethic each and every day.
One of Matt’s favorite quotes about team playing within an organization is that “when you want to go fast, go alone. But when you want to go far, we must go together.” And you’ll see throughout his experiences, Matt Kupec has always been a champion that team building may be the most important part of developing a very successful fundraising program.
The really wonderful aspect of fundraising is that you learn lessons each and every day. Dealing with donors, volunteers, development staff, and senior management is a work in progress. It has to be cultivated, nurtured and cared for each and every day. How well you succeed in addressing all of these areas will be the answer to what “culture of philanthropy” you are able to establish within your organization. And the stronger that culture, the more successful your fundraising program will be.
The Early Years: Educational Experience
Matt Kupec has always been a leader throughout his life. Born and raised in Syosset, NY on Long Island, he enjoyed a prolific high school career as an outstanding student-athlete. A three sport star – football, basketball and baseball – Matt earned many honors and awards including prep All-American in football where he led his Syosset HS football squad to an undefeated season and #1 ranking as the top High School team in the entire New York state.
With many full scholarship offers to choose from following his successful football career, Matt Kupec chose to accept a full scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill because of its high academic standing and strong football program.
At UNC, Matt was the starting quarterback for four years and led the Tar Heels to bowl games in three of the four seasons. He was named Most Valuable Player in the Liberty and Gator Bowls.
Matt set 19 season and career passing records while a UNC quarterback. In fact, two of those records – most consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass and most wins as a starting quarterback – remain standing nearly 40 years after his playing career. Matt earned a reputation for being a “winner” during his UNC career.
About this Site
$390 billion was given to charities in the United States in 2017! Yes, $390 billion! These dollars came from individuals, corporations and foundations to non-profit organizations. Fundraising continues to become more important for all charities throughout the land due to ever increasing pressures to increase revenue. On this site you will find articles, blogs, and informational videos that can help you in your journey to build a fundraising program that is providing you with the philanthropic resources needed to help your organization meet its ambitious goals.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”