Meet Jimmy Buck

The opportunity to shape Deakin’s philanthropic future proved a powerful incentive for Jimmy Buck, Deakin’s new Chief Advancement Officer, to pack up and move from Sydney to Melbourne.

With extensive experience in Advancement disciplines after nine years at the University of Sydney – most recently as Director of Development during the university’s $1 billion INSPIRED fundraising campaign – Jimmy was ready for new challenges in a new city.

“One of the most attractive things about Deakin is that we are growing and ambitious,” Jimmy explained.

“Deakin is such a comparatively young university and this means we’re all about looking forward, about shaping stories and histories.”

For Jimmy, a career in fundraising in universities has provided an opportunity to combine his love of learning with his desire to make a real difference.

“Universities are the most inspirational places,” Jimmy said.

“Being surrounded by thousands of really smart, enquiring minds is a privilege because you have ideas being thrown around all the time. At universities, the possibilities are endless and I find that really exciting.”

One of the joys during Jimmy’s career has been the opportunity to discuss the concept of philanthropy with others.

“Working with people to affect impact in areas they are passionate about is something that I’ve enjoyed doing my whole life,” Jimmy explained.

“It’s always a true delight to provide people with stories of philanthropy. It is through stories that people can appreciate the power of giving. Both for the cause and themselves.

“I think that with so many worthy causes out there, it’s important to remind people that when you give through a university – when you invest in an area that you care about – you’re investing in the research and teaching that can actually solve a lot of problems and change lives for the better.”

Jimmy is a firm believer in the role of Advancement in providing opportunities for people to make an impact on the things that matter most to them.

“It’s a real honour and a privilege to be able to provide people with those opportunities because they’re changing lives in some of the most incredible ways, whether they’re getting people into education, advancing research or making art accessible,” Jimmy explained. 

“Some people just don’t realise that they can do that and I think it’s really a special thing to be able to provide those opportunities.”

American-born and a proud graduate of Boston University, Jimmy’s accent often draws comments from others about the culture of philanthropy in Australia compared with other countries.

“I’m often faced with the outdated myth that Australians don’t have a culture of philanthropy,” Jimmy said.

“I firmly believe there is a culture of giving in this country, but it’s unique and I think that’s part of what makes it so special. Just go to Bunnings on a Saturday.”

For Jimmy, the notion of sustainability in philanthropy is becoming more and more important for both donors and recipients.

“Through the process of building my Deakin knowledge, the notion of ‘sustainability’ as a key Deakin value has really stood out to me,” Jimmy said.

“At Deakin, sustainability is not just about being environmentally conscious. It’s a way of thinking that affects every area, including Advancement.

“For our generous donors, sustainability means that we’re planning to be around for a long time.

“Even though we have a comparatively short track record, we have really long-term ambitions, and that was really appealing to me.”

In the meantime, not even a very chilly start to a Melbourne winter can dampen Jimmy’s enthusiasm for embracing life as a Melburnian.

“I really enjoy living in Melbourne!” Jimmy said.

“I’m so thrilled that I get to explore the different campuses and see more of Victoria, places like Warrnambool and Geelong.

“Another thing that I find really exciting about Deakin is the fact that we serve very distinct communities and I’m looking forward to getting to know more about those communities in the months and years to come.”

During nine years at the University of Sydney, Jimmy worked across Advancement, leading advancement services, alumni relations and development teams in both higher education and medical philanthropy. He most recently held the Director of Development position, a leadership role generating philanthropic income towards the $1 billion INSPIRED campaign, the largest philanthropic campaign in Australian higher education. He is a CASE volunteer and speaker and serves on the Foundation Board of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Cancer Hospital and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Education Advancement and Marketing.

Jimmy brings international experience from earlier roles and studies at Boston University, the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and the University of Sydney.