Director of Major Gifts, United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
'14SPS, Nonprofit Management
I love telling stories, connecting people of similar and different interests, and raising critical resources for organizations with a strong vision. Every day I am not only excited and passionate, but also grateful to try and make the world a better place through fundraising. I am a proud alumnus of the Columbia University Nonprofit Management Program, and a true believer in the power of higher education and philanthropy.
Philanthropy begins with education. I spend a majority of my time talking with donors and prospects about the importance of giving back and the impact it has on peoples’ lives. I believe the secret to being a successful fundraiser lies in the interaction you have with others. People you speak to must think they are better off after interacting with you, and feel inspired to become more involved in the mission of the organization. This takes strategic conversation made up of thoughtful questioning and active listening. In the end, people give to people, and it is our job as development professionals to ignite their emotions and motivate them to give back.
Jason Rizzi is an Associate Director of Major Gifts for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation (USOPF), part of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). Unlike most National Olympic Committees, the USOC does not receive federal funding for its Olympic programs. Instead, it relies on the generosity of the American public to help U.S. athletes remain competitive with the rest of the world. In 2013, the USOC took an important step forward in its goal of increasing philanthropic support for Team USA’s athletes and programs by launching the USOPF, a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which now serves as the primary source of philanthropic resources for the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States. All funds generated by the USOPF are transferred to the United States Olympic Committee as the sole beneficiary of the foundation. By generating critical financial resources, the foundation enables the USOC to make investments in areas that promote excellence and innovation for Team USA, on and off the field of play.
Previously, Rizzi worked at Hackley School, a k-12 independent school in Tarrytown, NY, as the Director of Major Gifts. He was responsible for raising awareness and support for the school's $90M comprehensive capital campaign. Prior to working at Hackley, Rizzi was responsible for the strategic management and success of the Annual Fund for Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and Mailman School of Public Health.
Outside of work, Rizzi is an avid Ironman triathlete and charity fundraiser, competing each 140.6 mile triathlon for organizations like the Challenged Athletes Foundation, GMHC, New York Organ Donor Network, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Rizzi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The George Washington University, and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University. He is the inaugural alumni recipient of the Dean’s Excellence Award at Columbia’s School of Professional Studies.