Ian McKinnon ’85 – with his wife Sonnet ‘89, among the largest supporters in Academy history – was the keynote speaker at the Albuquerque Community Foundation’s series Notable New Mexicans in Philanthropy, where he spoke warmly about why he gives back to the Academy so generously and emphasized what he receives from the providing this kind of support to the Academy, New Mexico, and organizations across the country.
Back when he was a junior investment banker, he told the crowd, he had volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters during his few spare hours. “I remember thinking this seems like a sacrifice for me, but I’m getting more out of it than [my little brother] is, I think,” Ian said. “That’s one of the things I think is true about philanthropy, that too often we think of philanthropy as being associated with money, and that’s important, but it’s also time, it’s also talent, it’s effort, and once you start, it gets really addictive.
“That’s the message I hope I can bring across tonight – whatever cause matters to you, whatever really drives you, once you begin to volunteer, once you begin to get involved and you see lives being changed, there’s nothing better.”
Ian spoke of the sacrifices his family made to send him to the Academy. “It was tough,” he said. “And I remember thinking then, no matter what, I’d do whatever I can to make sure there’s financial aid for people, that people can go places they want to go.”
The Academy 8-9 building bears the McKinnon name, and Ian is an invaluable member of the board’s endowment management committee, as noted by Head of School Julianne Puente in her welcoming remarks, and she thanked him for the support he provided when she was a new head dealing with the pandemic. “Together with the board and, in large part because of Ian’s words and actions, we were brave. While many schools merely survived the pandemic, the Academy reinvented and transformed itself and is thriving in virtually all aspects of school life.”