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Bunbury Fund2018-10-09T15:38:03+00:00

The Bunbury Fund supports non-profit organizations making significant impacts across central New Jersey, and most specifically Mercer County, to strengthen their capacity to effectively advance their missions toward sustainable, organizational maturity.

The Fund awards one-year capacity building grants of up to $50,000. It also accepts proposals for multi-year grants focused on developing organizational effectiveness over a period of up to three years and a total amount of up to $150,000. In unique cases, it will consider awarding a planning grant of up to $5,000 to help an organization evaluate the resources required to undertake a more comprehensive capacity building project.

About The Bunbury Fund

In 1952, Dean Mathey created The Bunbury Company as a private, grant-making foundation to further his charitable intentions.  With a touch of humor, he named the foundation after Uncle Bunbury in Oscar Wilde’s play, The Importance of Being Ernest.  For years when an important project needed funding, and friends came seeking Dean’s support, he would routinely defer the decision until he could make a consultation with his valued advisors at Bunbury.

Since his death in 1972, The Bunbury Company has continued to honor the Mathey legacy through a charitable grants program.  In that time, the foundation has awarded more than $75 million to support non-profit organizations making significant impacts on social, environmental, and educational needs across central New Jersey, and most specifically Mercer County.

In 2015, sixty-five years later, The Bunbury Company has started a new chapter as a donor-advised fund of long-time collaborative partner, the Princeton Area Community Foundation. The Bunbury Fund at the Community Foundation will continue The Bunbury Company’s historic work, honoring the philanthropic legacy of its founder, Dean Mathey.

About Dean Mathey

Dean Mathey was born in 1891 and raised in Cranford, N.J. where he attended the Pingry School. A natural athlete, he excelled at hockey and tennis, captaining both teams in high school and earning the National Interscholastic Championship at Newport, Rhode Island. He went on to compete at Wimbledon. Mathey was a member of the Princeton University Class of 1912. Upon graduation he worked as a bond salesman for $15 a week at William A. Read & Co., becoming a partner of its successor, Dillon, Read & Co., before retiring his career as Chairman of The Bank of New York. He served his country during the Great War, stationed with the 314th Field Artillery in France. In 1927 he married Gertrude Winans, and raised three sons, Dean Jr., David and Don, on his beloved Pretty Brook Farm, now part of Princeton Day School, where he lived until his death in 1972. The original farmhouse was remodeled with the help of his architect classmate Arthur Holden, on property he had bought from the estate of Moses Taylor Pyne. In 1950, he married the former Helen Behr, a survivor of the Titanic, after the death of his first wife.

A devoted alumnus of Princeton University, Mathey served as an active trustee from 1927 to 1960, and as trustee emeritus until his death in 1972. A twelve year chairman of the Finance Committee, Mathey is credited with saving the Princeton University Endowment from the Great Depression.  In 1928 and even a bit before, he methodically moved the University out of common stocks that he considered overvalued. Under his watch, throughout the Great Depression Princeton never had a year in which the endowment lost value except for the catastrophic 1932 (the endowment dropped about 16% while the Dow went down 71%).  He was fond of saying, if asked about some attractive investment his committee may have overlooked, “Well, you can’t kiss all the pretty girls,” but, as one of his associates said, “Mathey didn’t miss many of them.”

While he was a gifted financier, his greatest love was architecture.  His many contributions can still be seen across Princeton, from the University’s campus to Princeton Day School and, in his later years, through funding The Windham Foundation and supporting the historic restoration of Grafton, Vermont, a place held dear by his cousins.

For more information or support, please contact:

Nelida Valentin
Vice President, Grants & Programs
Email Nelida Valentin