Future Head of School Fr. Don Reilly, O.S.A. had huge success with fundraising at St. Augustine Prep. He could replicate it at Malvern.
With the arrival of Fr. Donald Reilly, O.S.A. as Head of School, the vision for the school will remain mostly the same as it was under Mr. Christian Talbot, according to previous reporting.
However, one huge aspect of the school that may get a boost is fundraising.
This is not to say that Talbot’s administration did poorly in this area during his five years at Malvern. In fact, according to Director of Development Mr. Victor D’Ascenzo ’81, it was the opposite.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” D’Ascenzo said. “He did a great job of fundraising.”
Under Talbot’s tenure, the endowment, the fund dedicated to long-term financial stability, grew from nearly $11 million to $16.1 million according to Malvern’s website. In comparison, the endowments of the Haverford School and Episcopal Academy are $67 million and $48 million respectively, according to Chief Financial Officer Mr. Ted Caniglia.
The school also borrows against the endowment, creating debt. The endowment to debt ratio grew from 1-to-1 to 2-to-1, an ideal ratio according to Caniglia. In comparison, the ratio for Haverford and Episcopal is 2-to-1 and 4-to-1 respectively, according to Caniglia.
D’Ascenzo said that this was a result of sound investing by Malvern’s Investment Committee, generous giving, and Talbot’s work talking with donors.
“He has affected it by fundraising specifically for the endowment because that is one of our fundraising priorities,” D’Ascenzo said. “When he’s out there talking to people supporting Malvern, the endowment is one of the things he talks about in the conversation.”
D’Ascenzo’s department shares some of the fundraising responsibility as well, since its job is to raise money for the school. However, their department reports to Talbot, as he is the “chief fundraiser” of the school according to D’Ascenzo.
Reilly will bring a wealth of experience in fundraising with him to his new position at Malvern. Executive Director of Advancement at St. Augustine Prep Mr. Dennis Foreman worked with him in fundraising since Reilly started at St. Augustine in 2011 as President and CEO.
Foreman noted that Reilly’s past experience as the provincial for the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova from 2002 to 2010 helped him gain the experience needed to fundraise for St. Augustine Prep.
“Essentially from 2002 to 2010, he raised 40 million dollars for the province,” Foreman said.
Reilly’s most significant project as provincial was upgrading the monastery at Villanova University.
When Reilly arrived at St. Augustine Prep, he revamped fundraising.
“At St. Augustine Prep, he introduced a culture of philanthropy and organizational infrastructure that we didn’t really have at the time,” Foreman said.
Foreman said that Reilly introduced several vital fundraising initiatives during his tenure. One of these initiatives was a financial aid program called “Keep Men in Blazers.” This helped many parents at St. Augustine’s who work in the casino business, which has been struggling over the past five years.
“Many people lost their jobs,” Foreman said. “Their kids are already enrolled in St. Augustine’s. They were making good money, but all of the sudden their reality changes.”
Empathetic to their issues, Reilly began the program. Foreman said that the fund touched the lives of many families in the community.
“Father Reilly is a very genuine, mission-centered, tremendous priest,” Foreman said. “He is committed to students and their Augustinian education for people who deserve it.”
Reilly created a number of other funds and fundraisers at St. Augustine. This includes the Athletic Advancement Fund (general athletic fund), the St. Augustine Fund (day-to-day operations), and the Run for the Roses. The Run for the Roses is a fundraiser in which the St. Augustine’s community comes together to watch the Kentucky Derby and support the school.
“We have these huge televisions, the whole school community comes and celebrates and comes together,” Foreman said. “This year at the Run for the Roses there will be a lot of well-wishing and thank yous to Father Reilly.”
Reilly helped to design a campus master plan for the future. Foreman said that Reilly led fundraising for the Navone Athletic Training Facility and the Vincent L. Buondonno Center, which houses two academic spaces and an office for the school’s president, enrollment, advancement, finance and communication departments.
“St. Augustine will benefit for many years because of his vision and his leadership,” Foreman said.
D’Ascenzo believes that Reilly’s fundraising skills will translate smoothly to Malvern.
“This isn’t going to be any different,” D’Ascenzo said. “Especially at St. Augustine because it’s an all-boys, Catholic, independent school. Same thing here. The fundraising operation down there is very similar to here. He is the chief fundraiser along with being the Head of School.”
D’Ascenzo is confident that Reilly will continue Malvern’s growth of the endowment and general fundraising as a whole.
“I think Father Reilly will come right in, I think he’ll recognize the importance of [fundraising], and that will be important for him to continue to grow it that so Malvern has as much stability as possible going into the future,” D’Ascenzo said.
Foreman said that St. Augustine Prep will miss him, not only as a great President but also as a great man.
“He has a great background in fundraising, and I think Malvern will be the beneficiary of his grace,” Foreman said.