Jon Denney named Stanford vice president for development

Stanford alumnus, now with U.S. Olympic Committee, will guide fundraising efforts.

Jon Denney, chief development officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee and previously a senior member of the fundraising leadership team at Stanford, will return to Stanford as vice president for development.

Jon Denney

Jon Denney played a key role in the success of The Stanford Challenge. (Image credit: USOC/Michael Waller Photography)

Denney, a Stanford alumnus, served in the university’s Office of Development for 11 years in a variety of roles, including senior associate vice president for development. He left Stanford in 2013 to launch the United States Olympic and Paralympic Foundation, of which he currently is president, and to oversee the U.S. Olympic Committee’s fundraising initiatives.

His appointment at Stanford takes effect in April.

“Jon brings deep understanding of Stanford, strong external experience and a rich background in developing and leading teams,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. “We are working every day at Stanford to expand our contributions to the broader world through our teaching, research and student financial aid programs. This position plays a critical role in building support for these activities, and Jon is extremely well positioned to fill that role.”

Denney will report to Martin Shell, vice president and chief external relations officer, and will serve as a member of Tessier-Lavigne’s senior staff. Shell served as the previous vice president for development from 2005 until 2018, when he assumed his current position.

“We had an impressive set of candidates, and we are fortunate and grateful that so many expressed a desire to take on this challenge,” Shell said. “We believe we have found an exceptional person in Jon Denney for this particular time in Stanford’s continued development. Jon understands how to build and oversee high-functioning teams, he works to strengthen the organizations he leads, and he is deeply dedicated to the mission and values of Stanford.  We look forward to partnering with him as we engage our on-campus communities as well as our alumni, parents and friends of Stanford.”

As an undergraduate at Stanford, Denney earned a degree in industrial engineering and was co-captain of the 1985 men’s swimming NCAA Championship team. From 1988 to 1999 he served in Stanford’s athletics department, first leading annual giving programs, then overseeing all fundraising activities, and finally serving as assistant athletic director for external relations.

He left Stanford for several years to serve as general manager of group sales and director of business development for Fogdog Inc., a sporting goods e-commerce company; and then as vice president of Inworks, an early-stage subsidiary of the investment manager Commonfund.

Denney returned to Stanford in 2002 as director of The Stanford Fund and took on a series of expanding roles in the following 11 years, ultimately serving as senior associate vice president for development. He played a key role in the success of The Stanford Challenge, a five-year campaign generating support for developing solutions to complex global problems and educating the next generation of leaders, along with the Campaign for Undergraduate Education.

Since 2013, Denney has led fundraising for the U.S. Olympic Committee, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he launched the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation. As president of the foundation, Denney works with the foundation’s board members and trustees to enhance the profile and philanthropic efforts of the U.S. Olympic Committee and generate support for America’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

“It is an incredible honor to return home to the Farm and serve the university during this next transformational period in Stanford’s history,” Denney said. “Stanford has a loyal and generous base of alumni, parents and friends who will be inspired by the initiatives developed through the long-range planning process. It will be a privilege to facilitate their investment in Stanford’s future and generate the necessary support to fulfill the university’s bold vision.”