Matt Lentsch, MPA, CFRE, has been named vice president for institutional advancement at Bethel University. He will begin July 8.
Lentsch comes to Bethel with more than 30 years of professional fundraising experience in our region. He has a personal connection to Christian liberal arts education, having graduated from a liberal arts institution (Asbury University) and his wife, Connie, is a graduate of Bethel’s adult programs. Lentsch is deeply connected in the community. He formed the first Association of Fundraising Professionals chapter for our region and has served on the Mishawaka Planning Commission for 20 years (currently as president), among other civic roles.
At Bethel, Lentsch will oversee the Institutional Advancement, Alumni and Marketing & Communication offices. Staff members who met with him described him as “connected,” “a mission fit,” “genuine,” and “a good community representative,” with a proven track record of success in fundraising.
“Matt’s solid fundraising experience and deep roots in the Michiana community make him as strong asset for Bethel,” says President Gregg Chenoweth, Ph.D. “I love his grit and initiative. He’ll be a good teammate.”
In his career, Lentsch most recently served for six years as Executive Director, Organizational Advancement, for the Oaklawn Foundation, where he was responsible for the development and implementation of a comprehensive Fundraising and Community Relations effort. There, he helped grow the Oaklawn Foundation’s fund balance from less than $200,000 to over $3.5 million, and nearly doubled annual funds raised for Oaklawn’s programs and services. His role also included providing leadership for the strategic direction and support of Oaklawn’s Advancement and Marketing/Communication efforts, as well as serving on Oaklawn’s eight-person Executive Council.
In addition to his most recent role at Oaklawn, Lentsch previously served there for eight years as Vice President of Organizational Management.
Lentsch also held fundraising roles at Greencroft Communities Foundation (Executive Director), Saint Joseph’s Care Foundation (Director of Development) and the American Cancer Society (District Director). His early career included roles with the Salvation Army and Camp Fire (Mishawaka Council) – both mission-driven organizations.
“I am very much looking forward to becoming the VPIA at Bethel University and in joining in the mission and ministry. I am so very grateful for God’s leading, His calling and for the opportunity to serve,” says Lentsch.
Additionally, Lentsch is a seasoned public servant. Beyond serving on the Mishawaka Planning Commission for 20 years, he was elected and served a four-year term on the Penn Township Board, served on the Family and Social Services Administration Advisory Council, served as a former at-large member of the Mishawaka City Council and is a longtime member of Rotary Club. He is a past president and former board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Michiana Chapter, and is a former board member and vice president of the Mishawaka Schools Education Foundation.
In addition to his bachelor’s degree from Asbury University, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from Indiana University South Bend, and has maintained a CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) designation since 2001.
Lentsch comes at an exciting time for the University, where he will build on the momentum of new initiatives including the Field Scholar Program, a low- or no-debt path through Bethel, made possible through community partnerships, and the Computer Sciences program on-ground, with two new donor-funded labs under construction this summer. Other new programs launching this fall include English as a New Language and Business Marketing on-ground, and Business Marketing, Cyber Security and a master’s in Sport Administration online, bringing Bethel’s online programs to 17.
Lentsch replaces Rich Cummins, CFRE, who recently left the University to pursue a career in the Christian music industry.