MEN OF VALUE INTERVIEW : Matt McBurnie by James Riordan
Matt McBurnie is Vice President of Institutional Advancement for Riverside Heathcare in Kankakee, Illinois. He began his career in philanthropy in the summer of 2003 as the Executive Director of the United Way of Kankakee County. While there, annual fundraising campaigns grew by 20%, including his final year with 12% campaign growth, the highest year to year growth for any United Way in the state of Illinois. He let the United Way to become the Executive Director of the Riverside Healthcare Foundation in the fall of 2007. Riverside Medical Center, the support purpose of the Foundation, has been a 7-year Truven 100 Top Hospital and listed in the top 5% nationally for patient safety by Healthgrades, among many other awards. In January 2015, McBurnie was named Vice President of Institutional Advancement. His administrative duties include Marketing, Foundation, Volunteer Services, and Community and Government Relations.
The idea of Charitable Giving has long been part of McBurnie’s life. “I grew up in a family that was, first of all, deeply committed Christians. My parents were not only peo-ple who had made a decision early on to follow Christ, but they were active in growing as Christians. They were regularly, in addition to Sunday commitments with our church, they were leading and/or part of Bible studies and different groups, always serving in different contexts of the church. We were an active family. It was certainly a value that I’ve adopted, that we made a commitment to a community of believers and our local church.”
Community Service has long been is a priority for Mr. McBurnie. He is a board member of Gathering Point Church of the Nazarene. He also serves on the IRB for Olivet Nazarene University. He was a 6 year board member for the Kiwanis Club of Kankakee and served on the Bradley Bourbonnais Regional Chamber of Commerce helping to navigate the merger to a unified chamber for Kankakee County. Beginning in 2014, he began his two-year term as chair of the board of directors for the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce. Community service is another one of McBurnie’s core values. When he looks back over his life he can easily see how these values have shaped his career path. “I think that is a good thing and I also thing that people should continually examine their life to see if it is lining up to those core values. And not only examined by me, but also by my spouse, the men that are in my men’s group and others that are involved in my life. I think it’s something that we always examine to make sure that there’s a parallel nature there. And part of that is being invested in my local church and being involved there.
McBurnie was chosen as Kankakee County’s “Young Citizen of the Year” for 2006. With an undergraduate degree in Music Education from Olivet Nazarene University and an MBA degree earned from the University of Illinois Chicago, he has co-authored and taught as adjunct professor for Olivet’s Executive MBA course on Non Profit Manage-ment, and for two courses in Olivet’s Masters of Leadership degree program. In 2014 he became a Fellow in Charitable Estate Planning. The concept of loving thy neighbor is emphasized in the New Testament and McBurnie views it as having a wide application. “Sometimes my neighbor is the person I’m interacting with in the community. Sometimes it’s my coworker. Sometimes in my world it’s a patient or the family member of a patient. It’s a value system that says that I show my love for God by showing love to my neighbor and that can be demonstrated in little ways and in big ways all the time. Jesus painted with a broad brush in that he left it open who our neighbor is. The idea is that even someone who does not believe or follow God would be nice to their friends, but someone who is really following the Lord should also lover their enemy as well.”
Matt McBurnie feels that he has been fortunate in his career to work with people who have a strong value system as well. “I don’t feel I’ve had to make a compromised decision or ever been pushed by my employers to do something against my values. There are career avenues that I have not pursued because of my faith. There are some roads I opt6ed not to go down, buy a big part of that is that it isn’t my goal to become wealthy. I would rather instead have less, be more generous, and be doing work that is pleasing to the Lord and in line with my calling.”
McBurnie and his wife Marsha have been married for 21 years and live in Bourbonnais, IL with their four children, Andrew, Adelynn, Caleb and Katie. McBurnie realizes the value of living in America and, like many people of faith, he has concerned over our country’s direction. “I recognize that in the history of the world, I live in the freest nation that the world has ever known. I recognize there’s this balance and I’m not free to just do whatever I want. I am free but I’ve got to respect my community. On the one hand, I live in a home and I pay property taxes to live in that home as well. I have responsibility literally to my neighbor that I mow my yard so that my yard is in line with their yards. Freedom is in the context of community. I am free to drive my car, but community puts a limit on the speed at which I drive my car. As a nation, however, I get concerned when we move away from the Judeo Christian values on which we were founded. As we move away from that as a nation, I think we lose our way because we lose our reference point of making decisions. I think we’re in a unique place now where countries are more than just geographic nations, but mindset nations if you will, some of whom are opposed to not only American freedom but America’s pursuit of freedom for others in the world. I look at it, and I believe that America has a responsibility to keep freedom and respect for people not only here but around the world. At times, we must intervene because I don’t think it’s okay for us to sit by and watch a leader of a nation slaughter his people, and us to go, ‘Wow. Well, that’s too bad. They’re not our people.’ In the sense of advocating freedom, they are our people, but we’ve got to know when and how to step in and. Sometimes, even if we should step in at all. I see those threats in that regard, and I think sometimes we get less involved than we should, and I think sometimes we get more involved than we should.”
Of course the bottom line is who is making those kinds of decisions. “Those decisions can be made by who has the most power,” McBurnie said, “who has the biggest voice, who has the most amount of money, who has the bully pulpit at that moment and those things are going to shift back and forth and that creates anger. The problem is that the loudest voices usually make the decision and I don’t think that’s the best way forward. I think we’ve put ourselves in a corner by pulling away from our traditional values, not being fiscally responsible and not facing up to certain issues. That blame falls on a lot of people, but now we’re stuck with the consequences and that concerns me.”
Having concerns like that and trying your best to live out strong values makes a big difference in the world around you and that’s part of the reason Matt McBurnie is a Man of Value.