Matthew McManness, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer at La Salle University, has been named CFO of the Year in the Nonprofit Organization category by the Philadelphia Business Journal.
“I was really surprised I won,” said McManness. “I looked at the bios of the other two finalists and was really impressed by what they accomplished. I realized I was in good company.”
McManness joined La Salle in 2005 and has overseen an ambitious effort to expand and improve the University’s campus and invest in the surrounding neighborhood.
“I think it (the award) validates what’s been done in the past few years,” he said. “In a difficult financial time, the University has made good, effective decisions about direction and growth.”
McManness arrived at La Salle as it was beginning an effort to invest in the surrounding community by improving sanitation, landscaping, lighting, employment and security, and several major additions to the campus and community.
La Salle University President Br. Michael McGinniss, F.S.C., said, “The neighborhood initiatives are critical to La Salle’s future.”
In 2007, La Salle bought part of Germantown Hospital, which after renovations is now home for the University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences and for several administrative offices. “It’s been a great project for us,” said McManness. “It expanded our footprint, and additionally we gained a lot from it from an efficiency standpoint, being able to better utilize space on campus.”
Br. Michael said, “Right after we completed that transaction and then renovated the hospital, the market tanked, so I think equal to that achievement was the way Matt kept our finances balanced through that very difficult period,” he said.
In 2009, La Salle partnered with Moreland Development to build The Shoppes at La Salle, a $15 million, 80,000-square-foot shopping center adjacent to the campus that includes a Fresh Grocer, the neighborhood’s supermarket in 40 years. It also features a Dunkin’ Donuts shop, a Rite Aid, and a Beneficial Bank branch, among others.
From 2009 to 2011, the university’s annual gross revenue has increased by 8.8 percent from $123.2 million to $134 million. In addition, La Salle has had clean audits for the past four years, according to McManness.
Two years ago, McManness instituted the first-ever client services center, which centralizes services to best meet the needs of the university’s finance and administration division.
“When I got here, our services were set up around people having to provide the services, and we refocused it to a point where now the service efforts really focus on our clients, students, faculty, staff, and alumni,” McManness said. The new service standards have saved the University thousands of dollars in areas ranging from utilities and strategic planning to contract and space management.
More recently, McManness has worked with Aramark Higher Education to oversee the university’s dining services, which includes adding a will bring a Starbucks and Subway shop on campus – just in time to help La Salle celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2013.
Br. Michael said that CFO award to McManness is “a tribute to the quality of leadership at
La Salle, adding that “Matt’s responsibilities are very complex, but with a strong team and effective planning, he has been successful.”