How Jason Rizzi’s Nonprofit Management Degree Led to a Dream Job

For Jason Rizzi, alumni recipient of the inaugural Dean’s Excellence Award, the School of Professional Studies played a crucial role in his current position as an Associate Director of Major Gifts at the United States Olympic Committee.

Rizzi describes his current position as a “dream job” and he credits his professional network at the School for leading to this opportunity. “Another individual who was with the Olympics for a while was in the Fundraising Management program [now Nonprofit Management], Sarah Cantwell, who was my TA in one of my classes,” he explains. The two kept in touch after he graduated “and when i was looking for my next role,” says Rizzi, “we touched base and all the stars aligned.”

Now he works for the foundation that supports the United States’ Olympians and Paralympians. He’ll fly to the Rio 2016 Summer Paralympics to network with with major donors and watch incredible feats of strength, skill, and endurance.

A 2014 graduate of the Fundraising Management program, Rizzi reflects fondly on his time at Columbia. “I went from being a student, to working here, to being an alum, and now an adjunct lecturer,” he says. “The award was amazing to receive because I had so many roles at the school. It was a moment unlike any other I’ve ever had, to be on stage with Dean Wingard and to share those accolades with everybody. It was one of those times where you think, ‘Oh, I did something.’”

Learn more about the Master of Science in Nonprofit Management.