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Meet Erin Morantz, SFU’s new vice-president, advancement and alumni engagement
Erin Morantz, SFU’s new vice-president, advancement and alumni engagement, knows firsthand how an SFU education can empower future leaders with the knowledge, skills and experiences to make a difference.
As a first-generation student, she chose SFU for her undergraduate studies, sensing that the university’s spirit of innovation, engagement and creative collaboration could help her prepare to fulfill her own desire to give back to the community.
“Intrinsically, I somehow knew or felt that SFU was a place where I could live my personal values and explore the things that were meaningful to me,” she explains, “And that I would come out with some general direction of where I wanted to go in my life.”
After graduating with a degree in sociology and anthropology, she quickly moved into the not-for-profit sector, where she has spent her entire career.
“I think you have to be genuinely curious about people to study those areas—and to be a good fundraiser,” she says.
About the VPAAE
As VPAAE, Morantz provides vision and leadership for SFU’s fundraising and alumni activities.
“My role, and that of the portfolio, is really about building relationships with alumni and donors and people who care about the institution, bringing them closer, keeping them engaged, and hopefully encouraging them to participate in and fund some of SFU’s key priorities that aren’t part of government funding,” she says.
That means providing meaningful ways for donors and alumni to support opportunities that resonate with them and enable SFU to achieve its vision and goals around the student experience; equity, diversity and inclusion; reconciliation; innovation and more.
“We’re here to be partners for all the other units, cutting across program lines and collaborating with colleagues across the university,” Morantz says. “It is at the intersection of different portfolios, in particular, where we create those opportunities to raise larger gifts and engage alumni in a more deliberate way.”
“I like to say that we're here to be matchmakers!”
Engaging the community
Morantz brings years of diverse national and regional fundraising experience in health care, advanced education, the arts and social services to her new role. Most recently she served as vice-president, leadership giving at the Canadian Cancer Society, and was previously director of advancement at SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences.
She is excited to be back at SFU to grow the fundraising program and create new approaches to building deeper and more ongoing relationships with alumni. “We need to meet our alumni where they are at in their particular stage of life, and provide them a myriad of options because one size doesn’t fit all.”
She calls SFU’s vision for community engagement its “competitive advantage.”
“By taking our knowledge out into the community, by listening to what the community needs in terms of support and programs and then doing the work in those areas—it makes this such a unique place,” Morantz says. “The more we can share that narrative with donors and alumni, and engage them in this diverse and impactful work, the more opportunities we have to make a real difference.”
For Morantz, part of that narrative includes sharing her own experience as an SFU donor.
“If you ask anyone else to contribute to the institution, you have to first give—I think that that's a hard and fast rule.”
She has previously supported a number of student-related initiatives within the Faculty of Applied Sciences, and recently made a new gift for a student award in anthropology—“getting back to my roots!” she says.
Family and the future
Morantz can’t wait to see what paths her own children, two boys aged 10 and 15, will take, particularly as her older son contemplates life after high school.
“We try to advise him that higher education is not just about coming out with a job. It's about coming out with the ability to think differently and critically, and to be open to exploring new ideas, even if they don’t reflect how you currently see the world.”
In her spare time, Erin likes to be active outdoors with her family. She has also taken up running.
“It was never really an interest but I’m finding in the pandemic that it’s a nice escape and a good way to clear your head,” she says.