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.”

MattFamilyMcBurnie 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.



The Author

James Riordan

James Riordan

Rare is it that any author will have one of his books described as the definitive work on a particular subject, but such a distinction has been bestowed by critics on no less than four books written by James Riordan. The New York Times Bestseller Break on Through, Riordan’s biography of Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, has not only been called “the most objective, thorough and professional Morrison biography” by the Times Book Review but also named as one of the Ten All Time Best Rock Biographies by Riordan’s The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco) was called “One of the best how-to books ever written” by the Los Angeles Daily News and “The ultimate career book on the music industry” by Recording, Engineer & Producer. Critics described Riordan’s The Bishop of Rwanda as “one of the most important books you’ll ever read.” and The Coming of the Walrus, Riordan’s novel about the 60s as “the definitive book on the era” and “a hilarious tale of a harrowing search for the greatest truth of all”. With the release of A Well Thought Out Scream and Madman in the Gate, Riordan pushed the boundaries again with poetry/song lyric books that contain hundreds of stunning, beautiful and poignant images from artists and photographers from all over the world. In the summer of 2013 a new edition of The Coming of the Walrus was released to rave reviews followed by The Kill Switch. The author of thirty-three books, James Riordan’s career began in the music industry where as a songwriter, manager, producer and concert promoter he worked with several well known artists. In 1976 he began writing a newspaper column, Rock-Pop, which he later syndicated. Riordan soon became one of America’s premier rock journalists with articles reaching millions of readers including those of Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, Circus, Musician, and newspapers like The Chicago Daily News and The Kansas City Star. His reputation for relating on a one-to-one level soon led to interviews with George Harri-son, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Zappa, The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Barbra Mandrell, Crosby, Stills & Nash and countless others. His first book, The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco in 1980) became the largest selling book ever written about the music business. The guide to “succeeding in the music business without selling your soul” was praised by Variety ,The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Las Vegas Sun, The Minneapolis Tribune, Billboard, Record World and many more. The Platinum Rainbow became an industry-wide phenomenon and interviews with James Riordan were aired on over 1200 radio stations and numerous television talk shows. Next Riordan collaborated with Pulitzer Prize winner Jason Miller on a mini-series for network television (The Irish) and a movie of the week for CBS (Bless Me Father). In June 1991, William Morrow & Co. published Break On Through to outstanding sales and reviews. Riordan worked as a consultant on Oliver Stone’s film of Morrison’s life, The Doors, which led to his writing Stone’s biography. Published by Hyperion /Disney in December 1995, Entertainment Weekly called STONE “an unflinching biography... enough spectacle to fill a month of daytime-TV talk shows.” The New York Post said reading the book was like “the sensory overload of watching all of Oliver Stone’s movies back to back.” Riordan was interviewed by Inside Edition, People Magazine, The Tom Snyder Show, and many others. From 1997-2000, Riordan created and co-starred in a local television program, Kankakee Valley Prime Time, which won six Crystal Communicators, three Tellys, and earned Riordan a Chicago/ Midwest Emmy Nomination for Writing the program. In the summer of 1999, James Riordan wrote, directed and starred in Maddance, an hour long dramatic project which won Crystal Communicators for Drama, Writing, Acting and Directing. On April 9, 2000, James’ 16 year old son, Jeremiah, was killed as a passenger in an accident that involved three drunk drivers. Shortly after this, James founded Make it Stick which works to warn teens of the dangers of substance abuse and publishes a magazine distributed to high school students. In 2001, he founded Jeremiah’s – A Place to be Yourself to give teens a place to hang out away from the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Force to close by its incredible growth rate, Jeremiah’s was recognized as one of the fastest growing and most successful teen centers in the United States. In 2004, Toastmasters International named Riordan Communicator of the Year for Central Illinois, the YMCA gave him their Service to Youth Award and the United Way named him the Outstanding Volunteer of Kankakee County. Returning to writing, Riordan went to Africa to write The Bishop of Rwanda, (with an intro by Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren). In November of 2006, Harper Collins released a new edition of Break On Through followed by The Coming of the Walrus (Image Workshop) in December and The Bishop of Rwanda (Thomas Nelson, Inc.) to rave reviews (“Powerful …plumbs the depths of God’s forgiveness and finds no bottom – Publisher’s Weekly). In 2011, he won the Pledge For Life Harold Award for his work with area youth. In the summer of 2012, Lee and Shane Stanley (Gridiron Gang) optioned Maddance as a feature film followed by Apothecary Films optioning The Kill Switch in 2013 and Omni Films optioning Final Service to film in May. Riordan joined the staff of the Mancow Syndicated Television and Radio show in January of 2014 and is now seen and heard across America on a weekly basis. His biography is included in Who’s Who in Entertainment , Who’s Who in Poetry and Contemporary Authors of America. James Riordan – Works Books The Kill Switch, novel with Andrew Dahlmaine, Stonegate Ink, 2013 The Coming of the Walrus, Trade Paperback Editn, Image Workshop 2012 Springboard To Heaven ( Jojo Sayson Adventure), Image Workshop, 2012 The Elijah Collection, novel collection with Bill Myers, Zondervan, 2011 The Well Thought Out Scream (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 Madman in the Gate (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 The Deadly Loyalty Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Ancient Forces Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Enemy Strikes with Bill Myers (Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 Deception with Bill Myers (Book 2 Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 The Bishop of Rwanda (Finding Forgiveness) Thomas Nelson, March 2007 Paperback Edition May, 2012 The Coming of the Walrus (What Really Happened in the '60s) IW, 2006 Break on Through (The Life & Death of Jim Morrison), Morrow, 1991. (New York Times Bestseller, Published in 5 languages, Hardcover, 5 Paperback Editions, Harper Trade Paperback November, 2006) Stone (The Controversies, Excesses & Exploits of a Radical Filmmaker), Disney/Hyperion,1995. (Published in 3 languages, Hardcover, Paperback Edition). Making It in the New Music Business, Writers Digest Books, 1987, (Second Edition, Revised and Updated 1991, Two Hardcover Editions) The Platinum Rainbow (How to Succeed in the Music Business Without Selling Your Soul) 250,000 copies with Bob Monaco, Swordsman Press, 1980, Twenty-Three Editions, Revised 1988) 25 Year Anniversary Edition, 2005 Capture the Wind (Microphones) w.Tom Lubin, Literary Mouse Press,1989 Private Biography of Russ Kalvin, founder of Kalvin Corp., 1990 Private Biography of Steve Stefano, founder of Joico Hair Products, 1993. Mystery of the Invisible Knight (Book 2 in the BloodHounds Series) with Bill Myers, Bethany House,1997. Matters of the Heart (The Life & Times of Edgar Cullman), Culbro, 1997. The Curse (Book 7 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1997. The Undead (Book 8 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1996. The Scream (Book 9 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1998 The Ancients (Book 10 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1999. The Cards (Book 11 Forbidden Doors Series) with Bill Myers, Tyndale,2000 Films Final Service, co-written with Gary Moore and based on his book, Omni Productions, to be filmed in May, 2014. Maddance, Writer/Director/Lead Actor, Search Engine Films, Simmcomm, 1999. (Winner of 4 Crystal Communicators including Best Drama, Screenplay, Director, Male Actor – Austin, TX.1999) Performance (The Life of Ingrid Bergman), Screenplay, Lancit Productions 1998. Returned to Author when film division closed)Rewritten2009 Shadowdancers, Story & Screenplay, Story with Bill Myers, 1997 Dr. Babylon, Story 1996. Air Guitar, Story & Screenplay, 1994 The Platinum Rainbow, Story & Screenplay, 1993 Television/Video Kankakee Valley Prime Time, Writer, Director, Producer, 1997-2000. (Nominated for Midwest/Chicago Emmy for Writing, 1998, 3 Telly Awards, 4 Crystal Communicators 1998-2000). Angels Among Us (The Amtrak City of New Orleans Train Disaster, Co- Producer, (Telly Award, 2000). River Valley Sports Authority, Producer, 1999-2003. I Hate The World (Hypnoises Music Video), Writer/Director/Producer, Crystal Communicator for Best Music Video Concept, 1998). The United Way (Video) Crystal Communicator for Best Video for a Charitable Organization, 1998.

If it isn't money and it isn't fame and it isn't sex... then what... God?

— James Riordan, 2000

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