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A Lifelong Connection, an Enduring Gift

Heafey Family

For Matt Heafey ’84, it’s all about connection. His years at O’Dowd built the foundation for lifelong friendships, which also helped lead to a strong professional network. After a 20-year career in finance - first at Shearson Lehman Hutton Brothers and Smith Barney, and then at his own firm, Money Market One - he’s spent the past 18 years working in East Bay real estate, often selling homes to fellow O’Dowd families. Last year he sold the home of one of his best friends from second grade. “The stories we could share from that time are endless,” he laughs. This sense of community has been a pillar in both his personal and professional lives - and that’s one reason that Heafey has become a generous legacy donor to O’Dowd.

Another reason is that Matt was raised within a strong culture of philanthropy: both his grandfather and his father were devoted supporters of Catholic schools across the Bay Area. “It was just accepted in my family that this is something you should do to give back to your community,” he says. “I think it's more nurture than nature for me.”

Forever a Dragon, Matt has remained dedicated to O’Dowd through the years, most recently through his involvement in the class of 1984 class reunion committee and their efforts to build the endowed Class of 1984 Scholarship Fund. Additionally, Matt has been involved with education, sports, and fundraising efforts at several Catholic colleges, as well as in the Piedmont school district. “I was raised to become involved and want to help out,” he says. “And, you know, some of my business is due to the relationships that I formed at O'Dowd. So demonstrating that I’m able to give back through gifts like these - it’s a good thing.”

Matt lives in Piedmont with his wife, Margaret, and the couple loves to travel as a family and with friends all over the U.S. Their two grown sons, Winters and Teddy, both live in Denver, and family skiing vacations over Christmas break are “where we get to reconnect,” he says.

Because legacy gifts are made by including the beneficiary in one’s will, many donors wait until later in life to think about giving in this way. But Matt, still actively employed, is thinking ahead. He also makes regular donations of securities through a charitable fund. But the greatest benefit is knowing that he’s making a difference at O’Dowd—both now and in the years to come.

Helping the school stay strong and growing is important, Heafey says, citing recent closures of two Bay Area universities due to rising operational costs and declining enrollment. “Fortunately, O’Dowd doesn't have those problems,” Matt says. “The school has a super-strong enrollment and a great reputation. I think that’s because of all these good connection points among current students, alumni and donors.”

For Matt, his affection for O’Dowd looks both backwards and forward. “I think some of my best friendships began there; groups of people that I still get together with today,” he says. But he’s also enormously proud of its continuing progress. “It's really impressive to see what they've done with the school. And I want to be part of that success.”

Again, there’s that emphasis on connection: “That’s the piece that keeps coming back to me,” Matt says. “It’s been 40 years, and O’Dowd is a very different place today than when I was there. But at the same time, it's still here. I'm still here. And all our friends are still here. You know, that's a constant reminder that it’s a very good institution.”

Join Matt and the community of alumni and parents who invest in O’Dowd’s future by including the school as a beneficiary of your will, trust or retirement account.

Will You Join the Dragon Legacy Circle?

Your gift of an O'Dowd education extends far beyond the classroom, shaping students into compassionate, competent, and socially conscious individuals who are prepared to lead fulfilling lives and make a difference in the world.

We’ll celebrate your commitment by inviting you to join our Dragon Legacy Circle, with invitations to special events and recognition in our publications.

The future of O’Dowd, and generations of talented students, will be ever brighter because of your generosity.

For additional information contact Rebecca Bischoff at (510) 553-8628 or


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