Matt Ferraguto ’94 Discusses the Nature of Non-Profit Organizations

Matt Ferraguto ’94 used his experiences working with non-profit organizations to present perspectives on service during the Community Service Forum “Money: The Root of All Service?” Ferraguto focused on how non-profit organizations succeed and how to best contribute to these organizations.

Ferraguto discussed his experiences with non-profit organizations as the Director of Communications of Reach Out and Read, a national organization that promotes literacy among young children. Reach Out and Read hosts a five-year program that gives new books to children.

Ben Morris ’11 said, “It was great to hear from someone with an insider’s perspective on non-profit organizations.”

Brad Silnutzer, Community Service Teaching Fellow, said, “This year we have been trying to provide students with opportunities to talk about and engage with service beyond our regularly scheduled programs. We hope that students think deeply about and question issues surrounding service, social justice, volunteerism and charity.”

Ferraguto primarily discussed what makes non-profit organizations successful.

He said there are 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the United States and 150 more are made per day. According to Ferraguto, these organizations are fighting for the same cause but are essentially taking money away from each other.

Scherezade Khan ’12, said, “I think it is powerful to see how difficult it is to keep a non-profit organization running.”

Ferraguto also focused on the best way to contribute to a non-profit organization. Contrary to popular belief, the best way to donate is not through money. He says that although money is a lot of help, the best way to support a non-profit organization is through the benefit of everyone’s expertise.

Katherine Rivera ’11 said, “I found the forum really intriguing because he talked extensively about the value of non-profit organizations and it made me question what the most valuable assets I have to give to a community service project are.”

“It’s a really powerful concept and got me excited about working the financial side of a non-profit organization,” she continued.”

Liz Davisson, Interim Director of Community Service, said, “I think it really makes it a great experience for students who are learning about what a non-profit does and how they function.”

“I think what was really cool is having and expert in their field, someone who is clearly well-versed in the non-profit world be able to come and talk from personal experience,” she continued.

The coordinators of the forum hoped that students would learn more about giving back to the community.

April Liang ’11, student coordinator of the forum, said, “I think that one thing he said that was really interesting was that rather than… money or time as volunteerism, we should be giving our best assets to help a cause.”

“This was really a new way of donating something that I really haven’t thought of before,” she continued.

Silnutzer said, “The main goal for these forums is to encourage engagement. I hope that students come away from it realizing there is more to think about when doing service than just volunteering hours.”