AHP Connect Member Profile - Jay Angeletti
The Angeletti Group, LLC
New Vernon, NJ
AHP member since 2004
A development executive with nearly 35 years of experience, Jay launched The Angeletti Group, LLC (TAG) in 2006 — a consulting firm designed to partner with clients engaged in independent and higher education, healthcare and academic medicine, and community building initiatives. Before doing so, Jay served Choate Rosemary Hall, Yale University School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Drew University, and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
How did you develop your career in health care philanthropy?
I developed my career in health care philanthropy in part by accident. I started as a development officer in independent education as an annual fund officer, and I began to really learn more and enjoy the field. A consultant — Martin Grenzebach — told me that if I wanted to grow in the business my next role should be as a major gift officer in a research university. I found a job in the medical school at Yale raising money for innovation and discovery. That’s how I found my way into health care. I just loved how fast health care was moving, how medicine was changing and how research was making a big impact. That was fascinating and very attractive to me.
What are some of the things you love most about your job?
From the point of view of health care advancement, I believe private dollars are more important than ever because of fiscal belt tightening. With specific respect to my role as a consultant, what’s most exciting to me is that my colleagues and I get to work with many interesting people at different organizations who are trying to improve lives. I always say we learn as much from each of our clients as we bring to them. But the bottom line is we’re engaged with many different people in different places, all of whom have some commitment to make the world better wherever they are.
Is there a particular project that stands out to you?
That’s a tough one. There are many. I don’t know that I can choose one. My role in health care at New York Presbyterian was very exciting because it came at the beginning of the trend of major mergers. Our campaign was the first campaign of the merged New York and Columbia Presbyterian Hospitals, which became New York Presbyterian. That was a billion-dollar campaign and one of the first of its type. It was an exciting and impactful project.
In terms of campaign success, how have you helped a client navigate that type of merger or acquisition?
When hospitals merge into systems, we often promote campaigns that are comprehensive and include a number of “big buckets” that incorporate different funding priorities. Traditionally, hospitals raised money for a specific capital project — for example, a children’s hospital or cancer center. As systems form and grow, there are many priorities. Furthermore, many hospitals have built out their campuses, and systems are pushing medicine into the communities they serve. A lot of fundraising today is changing, and it’s as much about raising money for people and programs as it is for capital projects. One of the concepts we’ve advocated for is health systems to conduct campaigns that surface different priorities from across the system. In the best of these cases, the priorities are not only identified from the top down but also from the bottom up. After a vetting of fundable priorities, we then come up with buckets that include improving clinical programs, service to the community, etc. Instead of being asked to give to what the hospital’s flavor of the day is, this enables donors to give to what’s most important to them and their families.
You are one of our presenters at the 2018 AHP Annual International Conference. Give me a quick preview of your session, “Building Campaigns Around Non-Building Projects: Raising Money for People and Programs as the Landscape Shifts.”
Everywhere I go, this topic represents a significant shift for development offices and foundations. It also represents a shift for donors who have supported key capital projects on hospital campuses for generations. This has been a fairly traditional approach. There’s a “big box” that’s going to be built, the development team breaks it down by rooms and centers and floors — and then shows people how they can make an impact by funding a piece of it. Funding positions like nurse navigators, social workers and statisticians is entirely new to most health care development professionals and donors. So that’s what we’re going to talk about. I’m moderating a panel with Joe Stampe, who leads the Meridian Health Foundation, and Karrie Borgelt, who heads the Main Line Health Foundation. They’ve got experiences in their respective institutions raising money in this way. I look forward to an informative and interactive session.
The other thing I’ll say is when I started in development nearly 35 years ago, the work was typically led by the “old coach” or “retired minister.” It was all about his/her relationships. And while relationships remain the currency of our work, there was no body of knowledge or best practices. What AHP has facilitated is extraordinary. I’m so proud to be part of this profession today. It’s very sophisticated, and it’s very rigorous. I’ve watched it grow up and it’s very gratifying to be a part of it. There’s so much these days that young professionals can plug into and, in turn, do a great service to their institutions as well as the people with whom they work.
What are some of the challenges you face in your work?
- Development is not a euphemism for fundraising. It’s a process that includes introducing people to organizations and educating them. And then throughout the life of that relationship, punctuating it with fundraising at the right times. Organizations that have an understanding of this do development well and benefit from it. Organizations that do not often struggle and have unrealistic expectations. You can spot the ones that struggle pretty quickly. A lot of times we’re in the business of delivering the message of what needs to occur, what kinds of investments need to be made and that it’s going to take some number of years to grow a successful program. Patience and perseverance are critical. There are no shortcuts.
- With health care moving so fast, in today’s world it’s often unclear what the funding priorities will be two or three years down the road. That presents specific challenges to foundations and development offices regarding raising money. It is a process, it takes time. If the funding priorities are changing, it can be very difficult. That said, that’s why focusing on big buckets, and encouraging donors to trust the organizations to make the right decisions within those buckets, is important. For example, we know raising money for heart care is going to be a continuing priority. But we may not know which pieces of equipment or how many physicians we need to recruit. So creating big, yet flexible buckets is the name of the game. That’s what we need to do and how we need to educate people.
For those new to health care philanthropy, what is something you wish you knew at the start of your career?
I wish I knew how important and how powerful we are. When I grew up in this business, I worked with world-class physicians and scientists. I had a healthy respect for them and almost always deferred to their opinions. But what I’ve learned over time is that development officers see the whole field. We see the needs and opportunities of not only individual physicians and service lines but also how those physicians and service lines interact with the community and broader resources. We are in a position to put programs together, to guide people — even to educate CEOs and trustees. I’ve seen the best people in the field put programs together and, in doing so, earn respect as a colleague in the C-suite and at the board level. They win this respect because they have a broad view and vision. I still learn this every day, and I believe it’s important for young people to learn early. It will make them better development officers and elevate our profession.