manager of restricted funds, oversees the accounting aspects of about 1,200
grants and monetary gifts given to Wesleyan for a specific - or restricted -
Manager of Restricted Funds Supervises Million-Dollar, Special-Purpose
|When a donor
specifies how his or her money should be spent at Wesleyan, Kim Savinelli
makes sure the donor’s wishes are met.
Savinelli, manager of restricted funds in the Office of Finance and
Administration, insures that all special-case gifts, grants and endowments
are spent properly. Restricted funds range from grants awarded by federal
agencies to monetary gifts made by alumni for a specific purpose.
“Every gift needs to be input into our system and tracked,” Savinelli says.
“And similar to an auditor, I need to verify that every gift gets allocated
to the right account, and all Wesleyan’s restricted funds are spent
Managing Wesleyan’s restricted accounts is primarily accounting work, but
Savinelli often meets with staff outside of the Office of Finance. Her
biggest “clients” are University Relations and the faculty.
University Relations, Wesleyan’s development department, brought in more
than $35 million in alumni donations, gifts and endowments last year. Grants
funded by federal, state and corporate foundations comprise another $8
million each year. Savinelli supervises how the restricted dollars are
“Each restricted gift is unique in that a donor or corporation wants their
money spent a different way, for example applying funds towards the new
sciences building, financial aid, or even funding a professorship,”
In addition, she calculates how restricted endowment fund income is applied.
Endowment gifts are permanently invested, and Wesleyan relies solely on the
interest income they generate to support university initiatives. Restricted
endowments will often pay for professorships, such as the J. Monroe Van
Vleck Professor of Astronomy position, currently held by Bill Herbst,
professor of astronomy; or the E.B. Nye Professor of Chemistry, held by
Albert Fry, professor of chemistry.
“Endowment spending has lots of restrictions. Each fund is set up so that
they’re buying units in a pool,” Savinelli explains. “My job is to figure
out who gets what piece of the pie, and that the money is being spent
Once a gift is accepted, Savinelli enters it into a program to keep track of
it, making sure it is being spent properly. She runs monthly reports on all
the accounts, and trains others in the departments how to read and work with
Kim works closely with the office of stewardship in University Relations,
providing information for personalized letters that are sent by the
Stewardship Team, which is led by Anne Bergen.
“We let the donor know that Wesleyan has spent their money according to what
the person or the organization wanted us to spend it on. That keeps everyone
involved happy,” Savinelli says.
In between playing watchdog to some 1,200 accounts, Savinelli coordinates
the annual federal and state audits. Savinelli says she loves working with
numbers, however working as an account manager requires one additional skill
she has mastered – organization. Papers on her desk are stacked neatly in a
dozen piles, and account information from years prior is stored in colorful
“I never throw anything away, so it’s important that I stay very organized
and methodical,” she says, smiling. “That’s typical of an accountant. You
have to be organized to get it all done. All the information I need is here
at my fingertips.”
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Boston College,
Savinelli worked at KPMG, a public accounting firm, specializing in
non-profit agencies, where Wesleyan was one of her clients.
While working at KPMG, she received her Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
certificate. She then took a job as a controller at Bay Path College in
Longmeadow, Mass. for two years, and ended up at Wesleyan in 1999.
Savinelli lives in Glastonbury with her husband, Robert, and daughters Kate,
6, and Allison, 4. She enjoys cooking, home improvement projects, and
reading as part of a book club. She’s planning to try yoga this summer.
“I’m a high-energy person at work and at home, and I like to keep busy and
try new things,” she says.
Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection