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Profile in Philanthropy: Paul Carney '82
December 19, 2018
Isenberg’s Business Innovation Hub boasts a state-of-the-art café and seating area that carries the proud name of Paul Carney ’82 and his family. “My aim in making this high-profile gift is to raise awareness of giving and philanthropy at Isenberg and UMass Amherst,” he observes. “We are, after all, a state university that is subsidized by the Commonwealth for only about 20% of the campus’s operating costs. I'm hoping to motivate other alumni to join me in bolstering the financial capacity of our great institution, to insure and improve its quality and reputation on the world stage.” As a family gift, the naming, he adds, follows in the footsteps of Isenberg’s Flavin Family Auditorium. “I wanted my own $1M gift to have similar prominence,” he explains.
An Isenberg accounting graduate, Paul spent the lion’s share of his career in senior managerial finance and administration positions for early-stage, emerging technology companies, funded by premier Silicon Valley venture capital and private equity firms.
Paul has been a consistent donor to the greater UMass community since he graduated. His first job was at the accounting firm of Laventhal & Horwath, where he worked for a UMass alumnus. “Not long after I started, my boss said to me, ‘tonight, we make phone calls,’” Paul says of his first time asking alumni to support the school. “We went to the UMass Waltham Center, they handed me a script, and that was my first introduction to philanthropy.”
It was after moving to Silicon Valley some thirty years ago, he says, that his connection with Isenberg and UMass grew “exponentially.” “When I moved to California, I looked forward to receiving fund-raising calls from students so I could get an update on what is happening back on campus,” he says. “I bonded with a surprising number of fellow graduates in California through the UMass Alumni Club in San Francisco. We shared the same experience, drive, and UMass pride. It was about reclaiming UMass family.”
In addition to specific support for Isenberg, he has supported technology and innovation collaboration programs between Isenberg and the College of Engineering, scholarship and facility support for the College of Education, and a host of other programs University-wide. He was also appointed to the UMass Building Authority board by then-Governor Romney in 2006, and over his 12 years of service he served on the executive committee as Treasurer and separately as Vice Chairman. Paul has also served on the UMass Amherst Foundation for over a decade, where he served as Development Committee Chair for several years. Through his more than 30 years of involvement, Paul has helped create and foster a growing culture of philanthropy among alumni.
Besides this building gift, Paul’s comprehensive investment in Isenberg’s future will strengthen the school through faculty support, scholarships, and other opportunities for students. His $500,000 gift in support of faculty has created the $1.5M Carney Family Endowed Professorship. A $1M match from the Isenberg Professorship Matching Incentive Fund provided the additional funds to complete the gift. A previous $873,000 gift from Paul—the Paul J. Carney Scholarship—established a fund for several students each year for high merit, international backgrounds, underrepresented, or first generation students. Prompted by his experiences working with companies and colleagues worldwide, he believes that the recipients of his scholarship will offer positive points of connection, bridging their cultures and countries with all Isenberg students.
“I am thankful to UMass and Isenberg for its broad-based foundation and the tools to succeed in my career,” continues Paul. “Isenberg and UMass prepared and positioned me for exceptional professional growth, opportunities, and success. Ultimately, my relationship with Isenberg and UMass is about people, education, networking, and pride. It’s also about giving back to foster a community that supports a ‘greater good’ philosophy—paying forward my own experiences and opportunities to those who have and will follow me.”