The U.S. Olympic Committee has hired Stanford University fundraiser and former assistant athletic director Jon Denney to be its new chief development officer.
Denney will be tasked with building a new foundation that is expected to raise more than $50 million by 2016 to support the USOC and athletes. He will report to USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun and oversee a staff of more than 20 employees.
The new U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation, which Denney will be responsible for building, is at the forefront of the USOC’s effort to increase its operating budget. The USOC is set to receive a lower percentage of International Olympic Committee revenue from sponsorship and television rights after 2021, and one of the ways the organization hopes to offset that is through more effective fundraising.
Denney will be responsible for recruiting trustees, a board of directors and an executive committee for the foundation. Those individuals will be major donors who commit $300,000 to $750,000 over four years. It already has more than 50 trustees, the majority from the Bay Area and New York.
Blackmun said the USOC reviewed more than 100 résumés and met with eight finalists for the chief development officer position. It tapped Denney for that job because he had a background in fundraising and experience working in the athletic department at Stanford.
“He’s got a very strong tie to sport, which for us was a critical gating item,” Blackmun said. “In the past, we haven’t had success [with people] without that background in sport. We think being able to articulate why sport is important and how it can be used to make the world a better place is an important part of this job. The combination of Jon’s personal background and what he’s been doing professionally the last 15 years gives him those criteria in spades.”
Denney most recently served as a vice president in Stanford’s Office of Development. Prior to that, he was an assistant athletic director and All-American swimmer at the university. He will start his new position Sept. 1 and split time between San Francisco and Colorado Springs, Colo., where the USOC is headquartered.