Colin Hennessy

Senior Vice President

"Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving"
– Henry Rosso

Biography

Colin Hennessy, Senior Vice President, brings to GG+A over 15 years of professional fundraising and management experience with expertise in annual giving, alumni engagement, segmentation strategy, data analysis, and more. A member of the firm's Higher Education practice area, Colin is recognized as an industry leader with a proven track record of developing philanthropic pipelines through thoughtful interventions informed by behavioral economics, data science, stewardship, and engagement.

Prior to joining GG+A, Colin served as the Executive Director of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving and head of the University of Chicago's global Alumni Association. In this role, he led the overall strategy and direction for university-wide engagement and annual giving activities and directed the University's ambitious alumni participation efforts. In addition, he oversaw a staff of over 40 and a multi-million-dollar programmatic budget, including signature events such as Homecoming, Alumni Weekend, and a global faculty-led lecture series. He first joined the University of Chicago as Associate Dean of Alumni Relations and Development and Chief Development Officer for the Harris School of Public Policy. In this role, he guided all initiatives to engage Harris School alumni and deepen philanthropic commitments from alumni, parents, and friends to support the Dean's priorities.

Before joining the University of Chicago, Colin was the Executive Director of The Penn Fund at the University of Pennsylvania, where he oversaw the global undergraduate annual giving program and the largest of the University's annual funds. Under his leadership, The Penn Fund steadily increased alumni donor participation and both unrestricted and endowed scholarship revenue to the University and gained national praise for collaboration with faculty on experimental fundraising design and testing. Prior to Penn, Colin served as Associate Director of Annual Giving programs at the University of Iowa Center for Advancement, managing annual giving programs for Iowa's 11 Colleges.

Colin was the inaugural recipient of the James A. Socknat Memorial Fellowship in Tertiary Education at The World Bank, where he researched the use of information and communications technologies in the developing world. His doctoral research foused on undergraduate distance learning at colleges with a traditional residential experience and outreach models for development and alumni relations with the goal of increasing philanthropic support. Prior to transitioning into higher education, he worked as a global technology consultant specializing in the implementation of sophisticated IT solutions for local government, healthcare, and retail clients.

He earned his B.A. in Communication and Media Studies from The University of Iowa, M.A. in Adult and Distance Education from the University of Phoenix, a Graduate Certificate in Public Management, M.P.A with concentrations in Public Policy and eGovernment from Iowa State University, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the 2019 Diane Thompson Award Winner for Excellence in Annual Giving from the Northeast Annual Giving Conference Association and a CASE Crystal Apple Award-winning speaker in addition to numerous CASE Circle of Excellence Awards presented to his teams under his leadership.

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