Allegheny All-American Becomes U.K. Philanthropy Expert

A campus interview with Mellon Financial Corporation (BNY Mellon) during her senior year at Allegheny led Randi Weaver ’83 to a career where she spends her days with professional athletes and others who seek to include philanthropic investments in their overall wealth management.

Based in London since 1989, Randi worked primarily in Australia, the U.K., and Spain, providing global financial services with a focus on investment management. She also gained experience in the nonprofit sector in a range of paid and unpaid leadership roles. Randi left Mellon in 2008 to establish her own consultancy, Good Giving, specializing in sports, corporate, and family philanthropy.

She was the first independent philanthropy adviser in the U.K. and the first to focus on professional athletes. The majority of her clients, said Randi, are ultra-high and high-net-worth individuals and families who seek a personalized giving plan and/or assistance in managing “the financial and reputation risk which can be associated with charitable giving.” She also serves private corporations seeking to develop or revitalize their charitable giving. Randi is featured in The Spear’s 500, a guide to the “top private client professionals focused on wealth management, law and advisory services” in Europe and the U.K.

“Tailored” describes Randi’s work with clients. She aids them in identifying their overall charitable interest areas, what they hope to accomplish, and potential organizations that may help them to achieve their goals. She partners with her clients and their tax and legal advisors to develop individualized plans including donor education, budget-setting, beneficiary selection, risk assessment, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

Education and risk assessment may be particularly important for those who are new to high-impact charitable giving for, as Randi noted, not all charitable endeavors are successful and some donors are more comfortable than others in supporting new ventures. Two additional areas of risk that donors must consider are an organization’s financial stability and its reputation (or the potential risk to their reputations in supporting it).

A swimmer for Coach Tom Erdos, Randi’s own experience as an All-American athlete (one of the first females to earn the honor at Allegheny) led to her specialization in sports philanthropy and helped give her entrée to the world of professional athletics. She has advised tennis and cricket players “and even a Formula 1 driver” but now works almost exclusively with football players (soccer, to us in the U.S.). Footballers are required by their unions to provide weekly community service in the U.K., so Randi’s guidance often starts there.

“It is easiest to start working with this donation of time and image before beginning to plan the donation of funds,” she noted. “It is a very natural path.” Most young athletes are not yet experienced in community outreach or in developing their public personas, and they can be surrounded by advisers who see them mostly as commodities. “At this stage in my career, I can be there for them and help them want to do good things with their time, image, and money,” Randi added.

“At this stage in my career, I can be there for them and help them want to do good things with their time, image, and money.”

The field comes naturally to Randi, who was born into a charitable family in Meadville. Her parents practiced tithing and donated time and money to a number of organizations. “As a family we discussed what causes we most wanted to support and why, and those discussions are the basis for my planning sessions with clients today,” she said.

Randi’s late mother, Joanne Martin Weaver, was one of the first Sheridan ACA Continuing Education Scholarship recipients at Allegheny (see the Ella Nash Society Newsletter, Spring 2020), and her late brother, Dan Weaver ’79, was a cum laude communication arts graduate who early in his career won an Emmy for his work producing daytime television.

Randi’s own philanthropic interests include faith-based charities, organizations that support women returning to the workforce after a break and individuals leaving prison, and her alma mater. She helps Allegheny by recruiting students, welcoming students and faculty alike to London, supporting the Annual Fund, and making special gifts in memory of her mother and brother. “My support of internships (and bricks!) in their names is their legacy on campus and the most impactful way that I can honour them both,” she said.

A double major in economics and Spanish and a cum laude graduate, Randi remains engaged with the College’s Spanish and international education programs and is particularly inspired by President Hilary Link’s commitment to international diversity in higher education. Randi studied in Madrid during her junior year, a life-changing experience. “I would not be where I am or who I am without it,” she said.

Randi has since completed post-graduate work at the London Business School and George Washington University. A 2010 recipient of Allegheny’s Gold Citation, awarded in recognition and appreciation of honor reflected upon the College by virtue of one’s professional or volunteer activities, Randi said in closing, “Allegheny gave me the tools and the opportunities that resulted in not one, but two, successful careers and a life well lived — and without borders.”