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Trustee Issues a Million-Dollar Challenge

Sidney and Lisa Feltenstein to match new or increased gifts


Sidney J. Feltenstein, shown here at a recent BU Commencement, hopes to “broaden the universe of supporters” of the University.

Saying they want to inspire members of the BU community to help meet students’ needs, trustee and entrepreneur Sidney J. Feltenstein and his wife, Lisa, issued a million-dollar challenge on Wednesday.

The Feltensteins will match, dollar for dollar, any new or increased gifts to any of BU’s 17 schools and colleges between April 1 and June 30, 2009, up to $1 million. The upshot of the University’s first Annual Fund Challenge: a potential influx of $2 million or more in student support in three months.

“There is no constituent of the University — student, parent, alumni, or friend — who should not be immensely proud of the excellence in education that our institution represents,” says Feltenstein (COM’62). “Lisa and I hope that our commitment will help broaden the universe of supporters so that Boston University can continue to improve the marvelous education experience that each of our students enjoys.”

“Sid and Lisa Feltenstein’s generous and strategic pledge comes at a critical and challenging time,” says BU President Robert A. Brown. “Their desire to support University-wide donations underscores our shared commitment to continue to provide an outstanding education even in a difficult financial climate.”

A longtime BU supporter and a trustee since 2000, Feltenstein has contributed to the School of Hospitality Administration and has served on its board of advisors since the board’s inception in 1984.

He is founder and past chair of Sagittarius Brands of Nashville, Tenn., the parent company of the restaurant chains Captain D’s and Del Taco. Previously, he was executive vice president of worldwide marketing at Burger King Corporation, where he is credited with reversing an eight-year decline in customer traffic, and chief marketing officer at Dunkin’ Donuts.

Feltenstein, a Miami resident, is known for his ability to revive ailing restaurant brands. In 1995, he led an investment group that purchased A&W Restaurants and built the chain from 450 to nearly 1,000 outlets in five years. In 1999, his investment group purchased the Long John Silver’s chain and formed Yorkshire Global Restaurants, the holding company for A&W and Long John Silver’s. Yorkshire’s sales grew by 5 times and its operating profits grew by 40 times. In 2002, he sold the company to Yum! Brands.

Cynthia K. Buccini can be reached at cbuccini@bu.edu.

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