by Matt Kupec
November 23, 2020
Even during these very challenging eight months of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the SIU Foundation has remained open and actively engaged with SIU alumni and donors to fulfill our mission of supporting Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
It hasn’t been easy, but we are pleased with the results.
There have been challenges — no travel to meet with our SIU supporters and cancellation of key events — but that doesn’t mean the Foundation team has gone to the sidelines to wait out the pandemic.
Early on when the doors at Colyer and Kaplan Halls were locked, the Foundation’s remote working strategy was:
- Stay in touch with our alumni and donors with the goal of increasing the number of contacts with our donors.
- Look for fundraising opportunities that were appropriate in these times that have been so difficult for many of our donors and friends.
It has been a great team effort. We have a really talented and hardworking team that has kept its focus on making SIU better. And our SIU alumni and donors have been spectacular during these COVID-19 months. The passion, the love and the pride our alumni and donors have for SIU is inspiring.
The SIU Foundation was one of the first universities out of the gate when the initial lockdown was enforced in March with a campaign to raise money for students in need due to the hardship of the virus. The Saluki Cares Student Emergency Fund was launched to help students without laptops to attend online courses and those in dire need of food and shelter as they lost jobs due to the virus.
SIU alumni and donors responded in a big way! Nearly $280,000 in critical funds were raised to support our students in need. More than 1,200 students were supported. And not one student who needed help was forced to withdraw from school.
On Dec. 1, the Foundation will hold a Virtual Scholarship Dinner, inviting hundreds of scholarship donors to meet with their students via Zoom through individual breakout sessions after hearing remarks from Chancellor Austin Lane. The Scholarship Dinner is typically one of the highlights of the year, bringing donors and students together on our SIU campus for an evening of celebration and thanks.
The Foundation wasn’t going to go to the sidelines and take the year off from hosting the scholarship dinner! No, the creativity and imagination of the team has created this virtual event that will bring hundreds of Salukis to together to celebrate the tradition of Salukis helping Salukis.
And more is yet to come as the Foundation team looks for innovative and creative ways to continue to engage with our donors as the pandemic continues to force changes to our normal programming.
Hopefully at some point soon we will return to normalcy and our alumni and donors will return to the beautiful SIU campus to participate in the spectacular events of this most gorgeous campus. But until then, rest assured the SIU Foundation team will keep working hard and looking to engage alumni and donors to help supporting this great University.
About the Author
Matt Kupec is the Chief Executive Director of the Southern Illinois University Foundation. He has directed four major university fundraising campaigns and nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, the Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and now the Southern Illinois University Foundation where he is directing the $200 million Forever SIU Campaign.
Matt set 19 season and career passing record as a four-year starting quarterback at UNC. He also set the ACC record for TD passes his senior year at UNC. Matt was named MVP of the 1977 Liberty Bowl and the 1979 Gator Bowl becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named MVP of two bowl games.
by Matt Kupec
May 25, 2020
This past weekend we lost a great one in Jim Fellman.
In our lives, we rarely come across an individual who will have a profound impact on our lives. For sure, our parents. Maybe a teacher, a coach or two, perhaps a faith leader or academic leader. But it seems like we can only count a handful of people that truly influenced our lives.
For me, Jim was one. He was my first real boss. Jim hired me as the director of alumni relations at Hofstra University at the tender age of twenty-four years old when I was basically clueless. Over the next ten years Jim he served as mentor, counselor, advisor, and friend. He had a spirt of life, a spirit of of decency, and a spirit of making a difference.
Jim changed my life in so many positive ways. As we celebrate Jim’s remarkable journey, I wanted to add my reflections to the moving tributes that have been shared on Facebook posts.
- Loyalty and pride. Jim was feriously loyal. To his family, to his employer and employees, and to his friends. You could not ask of a friend better than Jim Fellman. At the core, Jim was a former Marine and he loved the code of honor, “Semper Fidelis”, always faithful.
- Be Yourself. Jim’s devotion to the Marines showed in his running. Jim loved to run but his pace was not very fast. Jim shuffled his feet about 4 inches forward as he swung his arms back and forth but it was technically running. Jim also wore the old short, short Marine shorts. In fairness, longer and baggier running shorts weren’t in during those times. I’ll never forget the first time Jim and I ran. We were in Florida on the beautiful board walk filled with people. As we began to run Jim starts barking out “dedication, sacrifice, commitment,” as he listens to Marine music. People would look at us like we were crazy but Jim didn’t care, we would repeat his chant throughout the entire run. Jim didn’t care what others thought, he was going to be his own person true to himself. What a valuable lesson to learn.
- Organization and Building Team. I learned so much from Jim about teamwork and building team. Jim taught me all about the military organizational structure. I remember his weekly late afternoon meetings with Artie Sillman, Chuck Churchill, Bob Crowley, Larry Bloom, Margaret Shields, Richie Drury and others. The sense of team and togetherness as we tackled the problems of the day in his Weller Hall office. Jim inspired a shared vision and had the total buy-in, commitment and dedication of all on his team.
- Attention to detail. Jim had a system of “yellow memos” when he come across an issue that needed attention or follow-up, he would write it down and send you a copy and keep a copy for himself. Every so often, we would have a dreaded “yellow memo” meeting when Jim would follow-up back up with us to make sure we addressed the issue that he wrote about. Sure technology has changed but the concept of following up and following through remains with me forever.
- Perhaps more than any of his impressive characteristics was Jim’s passion. Jim loved life and had a huge heart. And Jim loved helping people. He positively impacted thousands of people in his life. He was genuine. He was dedicated. And he was so passionate.
I recently watched one of my all-time favorite movies, “What a Girl Wants.” In the movie, a young woman is asked to conform to the English royalty ways of doing things but she ultimately struggles and must be true to herself. At the advice of her friend, she is told that “you work so hard to fit in, when you were born to stand out.”
Jim Fellman, you were born to stand out. And you did that as well as anybody I have ever known. You had such impact on my life and I know that you made such a difference with the lives of so many others.
Rest in peace, my friend. And thank you for being you!!
About the Author
Matt Kupec is a fundraising professional with 32 years of significant higher education development experience. He has directed four major university fundraising campaigns and nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership. He has led the fundraising programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and HelpMeSee, a New York City based non-profit. He is currently serving as Senior In-House Fundraising Counsel for Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, leading SIU’s recently extended campaign with an increased goal from $75 million to $200 million.
Matt is a former record-breaking four year starting quarterback for the UNC Tar Heels. During his career he set 19 season and career passing records. Two of which still stand — most consecutive games with a TD pass and most wins as a starting QB. Matt also set the ACC record for TD passes his senior year at UNC. Matt was named MVP of the 1977 Liberty Bowl and the 1979 Gator Bowl becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named MVP of two bowl games.
The Business of Fundraising
About Matt Kupec
$410.02 billion was given to the 1 million+ charities that exist in the United States in 2017, crossing the $400 billion mark for the first time ever. As these organizations compete for these critical dollars to fulfill their important missions, fundraising is getting more important and competitive than ever. Fundraising has become a big business.
Matt Kupec has enjoyed a career as one of the most prolific fundraisers in U.S. history. In his 30+ years leading fundraising programs at places like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, HelpMeSee, Inc., and the Moffitt Cancer Center, Matt has helped these organizations raise nearly $5 billion. Very few fundraisers can claim the same success.
In his tenure, Matt has been in involved in all facets of fundraising – campaigns, annual giving, planned giving, major and principal gift giving, corporate and foundation giving, patient giving, faculty and staff giving, parents giving, community outreach programs, stewardship, gift processing, talent management, etc., and has an expertise that gives him an incredible insight into the world of philanthropy.
Matt Kupec has worked with boards, leadership teams, volunteer committees, community groups, consultants, to develop fundraising programs and strategies that produce results. As a result, he has a total grasp of the inner workings of a successful fundraising operation.
In this website, Matt will share his experience and expertise on those issues that of importance to fundraisers across this country. Whether it’s starting up an organization and taking a best-in class development shop, this website will provide insights experienced by one of the most successful fundraisers in this country’s history.
Joining Matt Kupec to offer advice will be a series of guest “expert” columnists to offer their advice and counsel to the challenges that fundraisers face into today’s competitive environment as we explore the “business of fundraising.”