Dean Mathey cared about people and places.
He loved his adopted hometown of Princeton and was a champion of education.
He competed at Wimbledon, was a graduate of Princeton University and then became a bond salesman who earned $15 a week. He served in World War I, is credited with saving Princeton University’s endowment during the Great Depression and retired as the Chairman of the Bank of New York.
Mathey died in 1972, but two decades before his death, he created The Bunbury Company, through which he carried out his charitable giving. After operating as a private foundation for over 65 years, the trustees of The Bunbury Company recently made the decision to become a donor advised fund at the Princeton Area Community Foundation. This decision allows the foundation’s strong philanthropic tradition of grant making to continue with the support and professional guidance of the Community Foundation.
Through the Bunbury Company, Mathey’s philanthropy made an indelible impact on the Princeton community, a place he called home for over 60 years. He valued education and gave generously to his alma mater, Princeton University. He was a formative supporter of Princeton Day School, leaving his beloved home, Pretty Brook Farm, to the school in his estate. He led the campaign to build the Princeton YMCA and gave generously to many other important community projects including Princeton Community Chest, the Princeton Youth Fund, and Princeton-Blairstown.
In 1962, The Bunbury Company funded and helped launch an operating foundation, The Windham Foundation in southern Vermont, where Dean Mathey’s cousins had long-spent family summers. The foundation continues to operate in Grafton, Vermont.
Mathey served as a trustee of Princeton University from 1927 to 1960, and as trustee emeritus until his death in 1972. He chaired the Finance Committee for more than a decade and is credited with saving the University’s endowment during the Great Depression by methodically moving funds out of common stocks, as early as 1928, that he considered overvalued.
During his tenure as a Princeton trustee, he served on each of the school’s nine standing committees, but his favorite was buildings and grounds, according to the Princeton Alumni Weekly.
According to PAW, at his 50th class reunion, he said, “[I]t seems to me we sense how fleeting all things are, not only the things we build with our hands, but life itself and even our posterity. And along with this we also sense, subconsciously perhaps, that the great seats of learning … some established as far back as the eleventh century — have withstood the ravages of time better than any other thing to which we ourselves may contribute.”
Yet Mathey’s contributions to the community were many, and they continue today.
The Bunbury Fund has seven advisors who oversee a bi-annual competitive grants process that its focused on strategic capacity building for nonprofit organizations within the Greater Mercer County region. More information can be found at the Community Foundation’s The Bunbury Fund page.