Institutional Advancement Welcomes Seasoned Fundraiser

Posted: August 8, 2018

Ryan McKinney has joined the University’s Institutional Advancement staff as Senior Director of Development and Major Gifts. McKinney is eager to help donors and prospective donors understand the importance of giving not only direct program gifts, such as gifts to an athletics team or a specific academic program, but also gifts for unrestricted purposes and for endowment.

“Some donors believe that giving an unrestricted gift is just paying the utility bills,” he said, “but an unrestricted gift is what allows the University’s leadership to have enough breathing room to focus on the next big, important piece of the institution’s future.”

Endowment giving is another tool in planning for the future. These gifts are long-term investments, in which the principal remains invested, while the earnings are used for campus needs.

“Endowment funds are there to back up the budget as needed,” McKinney explained.

McKinney left the insurance industry nearly two decades ago when his company in Portland, Oregon relocated.  He wished to remain on the West Coast and decided it was the perfect time to move into a more meaningful career. The President of his alma mater, Concordia University Portland, invited him to join the Development team, and he accepted, jumping into Corporate Relations and Grantwriting.

He later transferred to Concordia University Irvine, where he explored the elements of Major Gifts and Estate Planning, deepening his connection to the work of fundraising.

“I developed a love for estate planning, because that is so focused on helping donors recognize their legacy goals, and I learned a lot about stewarding relationships working with those donors,” he said, “I stayed long enough to see the results of some of those plans; although the passing of a donor is hard, I was privileged to see their legacies bear fruit beyond their lifetime.”

Ryan also spent a decade working at California State University, Long Beach, developing giving programs with the Dean of the College of Business, who joined the staff shortly before he did.  During his 10 years at CSULB, giving to their College of Business grew from $680,000 to more than $2,000,000 annually.

“We attracted alumni back to their alma mater, laying the groundwork for some larger gifts,” said McKinney.  

He left the large, public institution for HIU because he wanted to return to the Christian environment and be able to focus on stronger relationships directly with students and donors.  Additionally, he finds satisfaction in the fact that donations make a bigger impact on a smaller, private campus.  He is grateful for his background in sales, insurance, and banking as preparation for his current career.

“I have been able to take those skill sets and rely on them in helping donors use their gifts to transform lives,” he said.

Ryan lives in Orange County with his wife of 28 years, Faith.  HIU alumni and friends may contact him at [email protected] or 714-879-3901.