Spotlight Benjamin Tipton

Q&A Benjamin Tipton, Executive Director, Foundation Relations, Alumnus ‘03

Benjamin Tipton
  • City of Kent, Board of Zoning Appeals (2014-2021)
  • City of Kent, Salary Review Committee (2021)
  • Akron Torchbearer, Class of 2017
  • City of Kent, Fair Housing Board (2014-2017)
  • What sparked your interest in in Foundation Relations?
    My Master’s degree in Asia Pacific Policy from the University of British Columbia was focused on philanthropy and trade in Asia. When my wife and I decided to return to Ohio, I looked around for work that aligned my passions, interests, and experience – and voila a second career in foundation relations was born. I also really enjoy working for Kent State (BA in ’03) and making a positive impact at an institution I really respect and believe in its mission. My role supports faculty and staff to secure the financial resources to advance programs and research that make a real impact on student success and knowledge.
  • What sparked your interest in sustainability in both your professional and/or personal life?
    Sustainability is one of those deep-down important issues to myself and my family because I have children, and in my lifetime, I’ve seen the impacts of climate change. I’ve been fortunate to live and travel around the world and the impact is blatant to me. I worry about my kids, and all younger people, for the future difficulties they may have that I have not.
  • How do you pursue sustainability in your life?
    I get real joy from walking and biking places and the constant interactions that always happen. It helps me feel connected to the place I work and live in a way that I don’t when I drive a car. When I drive, I seldom have a meaningful interaction with someone beyond ‘the wave’, but when walking or biking I have the opportunity to inquire about someone’s day or learn about an exciting new thing they are up to. It helps me feel like part of a community. I walk to work most days, through the rain, snow and ice. It’s not always enjoyable, but it’s good for my body and the environment.

    I also drive an electric vehicle that I absolutely love, powered by renewable energy. (In Ohio we’re really fortunate to be able to choose from electricity suppliers and the 100% renewable providers are often cheaper, more here: We’re also committed to being a one-car family to save family resources and for environmental reasons. Again, the juggling and planning with two kiddos and all the responsibilities that entails, is not easy, but we think the hassle is worth it.
  • What are your favorite accomplishments or projects you have worked on so far? I’ve worked on some really big projects over my years at Kent State that are making a lasting impact on the university and the region, but my absolute favorite projects are always linked to student success. I’ve worked on several programs that directly assist students persist and complete a degree here and I feel fortunate that occasionally I have the opportunity to read a thank you note from a student to the donor I’ve worked with about how the grant or scholarship has changed their lives. I get choked up each time – and it gives real meaning to the work we do.
  • What do you want people to know about Foundation Relations?
    Foundation Relations is a central unit of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement that works with all areas of the university. We work with all colleges and campuses and most administrative units. We are, as I like to say, a small but mighty team of fundraisers that have the fortunate opportunity to help our colleagues here make a bigger impact on student persistence and graduation; and advancing science and technology. The many projects that involve sustainability are particularly inspiring because I know that they will have an impact on our changing planet reality.
  • Where is one of your favorite spots to visit on campus? And what makes it your favorite?
    The Commons when the lilacs are in bloom – it’s an olfactory joy not to be missed.

Thank you Benjamin!
Kent State University Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement