Support of the institute from National Council member Matt Seiden and his wife Wendi Weill has far-reaching impact.
Long before he became a member of the Gephardt Institute’s National Council, Matt Seiden was playing a key role shaping the direction and seeding the long-term success of the Gephardt Institute. A 1978 Arts & Sciences alumni and the father of two WashU alumni, he is the founder of Seiden, a successful New York-based advertising, social media and product development agency, and an active supporter of community organizations in New Jersey. Through his love for WashU and his ethos of community engagement, Matt has sought to support these efforts on campus over the past two decades.
Matt has been connected to the Gephardt Institute since its founding, all while serving as an active member of the Arts & Sciences National Council. In early 2006, Matt and his wife Wendi Weill graciously hosted a reception at their home featuring Congressman Dick Gephardt. In early 2010, as the vision for the Gephardt Institute’s signature initiative – the Civic Scholars Program – was being developed, Matt provided valuable insight and counsel about the important need for such an initiative. By 2011, Matt was an active member of the Gephardt Institute’s National Council and in 2014 Matt began co-chairing the National Council’s Communications Workgroup. In that capacity, Matt has provided his professional expertise and counsel as well as the in-kind professional support of Seiden to shaping the Gephardt Institute’s communications strategy.
At each step along the way, Matt also gave generous amounts of annual support to seed the philanthropic success of the Gephardt Institute and enable it to launch and sustain impactful programming. Responding to Executive Director Amanda Moore McBride’s comments about the importance of resources for endowment and programming support to sustain the expansion of the Gephardt Institute’s portfolio of initiatives, Matt and Wendi stepped up in December 2015 to provide a generous $100,000 gift. This gift has been placed in the endowment to create “The Seiden Family Civic Scholars Fund” to support Civic Scholars Program expenses, stipends, and travel. A portion of the gift was allocated to support the staffing of the Civic Scholars Program, which Matt recognized as a key ingredient of the program’s deep educational impact. In a further commitment to developing civic leaders, a Seiden Family Scholarship was created to support an Arts & Sciences student who demonstrates a focus on civic and community engagement.
According to Matt, “As we all know, the students who are involved with the Gephardt Institute through the Civic Scholars Program and other initiatives are truly exceptional. I also have a great deal of respect for the talented Gephardt Institute staff who advance civic engagement on the WashU campus. I am glad to help support such wonderful students and staff.”
“Washington University and St. Louis have a special place in our hearts. Wendi and I also have a strong belief that we have a responsibility to make a positive impact in the community,” said Matt. These core principles shape Matt Seiden’s leadership and example on the Gephardt Institute National Council. “While we hope our gifts make a true difference for the Gephardt Institute, Washington University and, ultimately, the communities we serve, we also hope our gifts inspire others to think harder about making meaningful gifts themselves.”
As he always does, Matt Seiden keeps inspiring others to keep the momentum going and join him in making the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement even stronger. “During this 10th anniversary year, it’s been inspiring to be a part of the Gephardt Institute community and celebrate its many accomplishments together.”