Skip to Main Content

Investing Today for Ivey’s Future: The Ivey Family Legacy Challenge

“Legacy is not what we do for ourselves, it’s what we do for the next generation and the generations that follow. The Ivey Business School is leaving the principles of strong leader character in its students. That’s a legacy we can all support.” ~ Richard W. Ivey


When considering the word legacy in relation to Ivey Business School, you would be hard-pressed to find a more prominent example than the Ivey Family, who have been pivotal partners in the School’s past successes. They’ve also taken steps to ensure the School continues to thrive in the future, through the creation of the Ivey Family Legacy Challenge, which encourages donors to create their own endowed fund in support of Ivey’s highest-priority needs.

The Ivey Family Legacy Challenge provides a 1:1 match for gifts of $150,000 to $500,000 that establish an unrestricted endowed fund. Every year the Dean uses a portion of the investment dividends to respond to emerging priorities and opportunities as they arise.

For Rich Stephenson, MBA ’93, taking advantage of the match offered by the Ivey Family Legacy Challenge made perfect sense. He and his wife Margot planned to make a further gift to Ivey in recognition of the 30th anniversary of his MBA class, as well as the School’s centennial. “Ivey was transformational for me,” recalls Stephenson. “I had an excellent educational experience. I met great people. I learned a lot. And I've been very fortunate professionally in what I've been able to accomplish post-Ivey. If I can help support a student who would not otherwise be able to attend Ivey, or help allow the school to explore a different research area, or provide new programs or resources, I’m proud to do so.”

As a member of the Ivey Advisory Board (IAB), he also saw the impact of donor support first-hand: “The School benefits enormously from the resources donors provide. The reality is there are more priorities than there are funds available,” explains Stephenson.

As a US resident, with children attending major US universities, he also saw “the resource gap between similar educational programs in the US versus Canada — that was a meaningful motivation as well”.

So, when he found out that an endowment of a certain size would be matched dollar-for-dollar through the Ivey Family Legacy Challenge, doubling the impact that his initial donation would have, it made sense to him. “We were considering a gift, but knowing it would be matched if we increased it, we were inspired to stretch.”

Stephenson also recognized the value of providing unrestricted support for the School. “It gives an enormous amount of flexibility. No one would have predicted COVID and the urgent needs that came with that. Allowing the School that flexibility and trusting them to properly prioritize how those resources are spent is key,” says Stephenson. “I am fortunate to benefit from having a lens into Ivey’s leadership. I totally trust the competency and perspective of the Dean and senior administration to direct those resources to the best possible use. Priorities change over time, and so long after I'm gone, those funds will continue to be put to good use with the priorities that are top of mind 30, 40, 50 years on,” he adds.

With roughly 30% of eligible funds matched so far, there is still a major opportunity for alumni to create their own legacy and have their gifts matched. “The economic impact of matching dollar-for-dollar is a huge opportunity given by the Ivey Family for alumni to make a larger impact,” says Stephenson. “The Ivey Family has left a legacy; my family has leveraged the match, and that is what the Ivey Family Legacy Challenge was designed to do: motivate alums like me to give and double the impact of our gifts. And I think that's awesome.”

For more information about how you can establish an endowed fund and double the impact of your gift through the Ivey Family Legacy Challenge matching funds, please contact Andrea Luchini at

Connect with Ivey Business School