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Lectures, Metrics and Boardsā€¦Oh My: Interview with Jamie Cappetta

Jamie Cappetta, President of Our Savior Parish and Caruso Catholic Center at the University of Southern California

In this episode, Andrew visits with Jamie Cappetta, President of Our Savior Parish and USC Caruso Catholic Center. Jamie started his career as a street minister in South Boston but found his way into development thanks to an invitation from John Flynn, one of the co-founders of Petrus. In this episode, Andrew and Jamie discuss his career transitions, the great speaker series at Yale Catholic Center, his strong feelings about the importance of goals and metrics, the powerpacked board that he manages at the USC Caruso Catholic Center and much more.

Show Notes:

  • Jamie started his career as a street minister in South Boston. After some time discerning the priesthood, Jamie went to work at the Catholic Center at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst as the director of development. Jamie was later recruited to the Yale Catholic Center and then the Caruso Catholic Center at the University of Southern California.

  • The Yale Catholic Center, led by Fr. Bob Beloin and Kerry Robinson secured $22M from 1,200 donors to build a new Center. Jamie was recruited to fundraise for a chapel and build up the annual fund.

  • The More House Lecture Series was an excellent way to engage the students of Yale as well as alumni and benefactors. Jamie was tasked with raising $25-35K in donations for most of the lectures while he was working there. The series covered topics such as Faith & Science, Faith & Law, Faith & Culture, and Faith & Poetry.

  • At Yale, Jamie explained that, “you have to start in the head to move to the heart.”

  • At the USC Catholic Center, their mission is to Evangelize, Welcome, Convert and Transform the students of USC.

  • Jamie has applied a more intentional focus on metrics to the ministry at USC. They track activity and results in areas such as Marketing, Advancement, Campus Ministry Programming. The main goal is 10% growth year-to-year but that goal can be different depending on the metric.

  • “We are in sales, and we’re selling Jesus. Over time, I have seen the ‘product’ get better. Fr. Richard wants us to be the In-n-Out Burger of campus ministry. Making a really good burger, and doing it over and over again and not getting distracted on a lot of other french fries and drinks and stuff.”

  • Jamie helped create a new set of by-laws for the Board. This meant losing 12 members of the Board initially but have now added 12 members to get back to 24 members. The Board also has 2 young alumni and 2 student members. One inclusion in the by-laws is an annual commitment level of $10,000. This is variable based on a member’s ability to secure additional funding for the ministry. Jamie admits that, “For me, the number is not as important as having 100% participation.” Jamie hopes that “our goal is to have each board member see us within their top 3 to 5 philanthropies.”

  • The Catholic Center is currently in a campaign to raise $30M for endowment and programming expansion. They are currently at $13M in commitments and hope to announce in spring 2019 after reaching $20M.

  • Jamie has served as a Petrus consultant for many years in addition to his work at Yale and USC. This was valuable in his development as a development professional. “I’m a baseball player and whenever you coach someone in baseball, having to articulate how to do something, it makes you a better player. The same translates in my experience with Petrus. When I have to step back and listen, it forces me to break it down into simple steps and not make it overwhelming.”

  • Some book recommendations:


For more information about Jamie Cappetta and his work and to connect with him, visit or


Giving to religious causes vastly exceeds any other category in the nonprofit sector, but faith-based organizations often struggle the most with fundraising effectively. Join Andrew Robison, President of Petrus Development, as he explores this topic through honest and revealing conversations with church leaders, executive directors and development professionals from the nonprofit community.


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