Tough Times Bring Out Our Inner Heroes 

illustration of hands putting coins into piggy bank for UNLV
May. 18, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has heightened our appreciation for the frontline heroes who are keeping Vegas strong: our medical responders, delivery people, grocery store workers, teachers, and so many more. Add to this list the hundreds of UNLV donors, from all walks of life, who continue to financially support our students and programs. With so much uncertainty today, why are you giving now?

Here’s what you’re saying:

“Even though I’m a UC Berkeley grad, my heart is with UNLV. I’ve watched it grow from ‘Tumbleweed Tech’ to a top research university. I’ve been here to see it evolve and I’m very proud. I get emotional when I think about what UNLV has done for this community and I’m glad to see that the community is giving back. I’ve been a big supporter of the medical school since Day One. Supporting the Nancy Perkins Atkinson Fund just makes sense now. It directly impacts UNLV medical students, and they will be helping our community get through this crisis and rebound.”
  — Carolyn Sparks, UNLV Foundation Trustee
  Area of support: Nancy Atkinson Perkins Emergency Fund 

“Mental health, in general, is probably where cancer was 35 years ago. It’s an area that’s under-resourced, under-funded in every way, and we have a significant crisis with our most vulnerable populations. The PRACTICE appealed to us for two reasons: It’s an existing clinic that is serving the community — whether it’s pediatrics, adulthood, or later adulthood. Also, their care is not conditional upon payment or insurance. It’s based on the ability to pay. Second, they are a training facility. Anybody who has received their master’s in clinical psychology, or their Ph.D. in psychology, has to go somewhere to do a training. The PRACTICE allows opportunities for newly-trained clinicians to stay in this community and serve this community.”
  —  Gerry Shear, MBA, ’10 who gives with his wife, Jenny Shear
Area of support: The PRACTICE, UNLV mental health clinic 

“Life can be fairly predictable – but when it’s not, it can be hard on human beings. If your head’s in the game, if you are centered and feel mentally and emotionally okay, you can overcome a lot of adversity. Keeping our students mentally healthy, flexible, and emotionally healthy, and giving them some tools to use at this time – we can work through the rest of it. The challenge is really giving people that assistance to stay healthy.” 
— Jeanne Hamrick, ’88, ’94, who gives with her husband, Don Hamrick
  Area of support: College of Liberal Arts Emergency Fund

“I have spent over 30 years in higher education administration and have a deep appreciation for the ability of higher education to transform the lives of individuals and add value to their communities. UNLV serves more first-generation students — and those facing greater risk factors — than most institutions. Many are struggling more than ever during this unexpected crisis. 
“We heard that the Food Pantry was running low on supplies and hope that our donation will make a difference for those experiencing food insecurity. It is essential to have basic needs met so our students can focus on their education.” 
  — Jean Vock, UNLV Senior Vice President, Business Affairs, and CFO
  Area of support: UNLV Food Pantry

“I like to live in accordance with my Christian faith and give a helping hand to those who are less fortunate. And, I want to support my alma mater. A lot of UNLV students are facing hardships now, especially all of those who have lost jobs. It’s important to me to help students survive financially so they can continue pursuing their degrees and be successful in their fields.” 
  — Kenneth Fong ’78, B.S. Business
  Area of support: UNLV Emergency Fund

“My wife Stacey and I gave to the UNLV Medicine Fund for Patient Care because we wanted to support UNLV and combat COVID-19 simultaneously. We hope that the money is helping patients with the illness receive proper medical care. Our donation seemed particularly necessary because it appeared that medical professionals were not receiving all the support they needed from federal and state governments. In a pandemic it is especially important for those who are relatively well off to help those who are not. The illness could strike anyone at any time.”
  — David Fott, UNLV professor of political science
Area of support: UNLV Medicine Fund for Patient Care

“I remember when I was young and my family didn’t have money. I was working during the day and going to school at night. If it weren’t for other people helping me, I couldn’t have gotten my undergraduate degree or my graduate degree. Now that I can afford to help, I want others to have the same opportunities. Life is not easy for the majority of UNLV students. They need to be respected and nurtured by our community. If they are, they will acquire skills and they will give back by becoming active participants in the community post-graduation. UNLV is our community. It’s our local school, and these are our local children.” 
  — Brenda Frank
 Areas of support: Russell and Brenda Frank Honors Scholarship & College of Fine Arts

“Brenda and I have a philosophy: we’ve been very lucky and we believe in giving back. I was raised by my grandparents, who had very minimal resources. If people in our community needed help, somehow they would find a way to help them. I was raised with the concept of “tzedakah” – a moral responsibility to give back. I’ve taken many classes at UNLV in various disciplines. Additionally, I’m on the College of Sciences Advisory Board. I see that for many UNLV students, it’s very difficult financially to stay in school. We think it is important to help as many students financially as possible. We believe that the future is science. We’re supporting physics majors and Honors College students who are majoring in the sciences. One of them just might be the next Einstein. At UNLV, you never know when something amazing will happen!”
  — Russell Frank
 Areas of support: Russell and Brenda Frank Honors Scholarship & College of Fine Arts

“This pandemic has upended everyone's life. We know that includes our students, undergraduate and graduate alike. When we think of health concerns, virtual meetings, lost income, technology leaps -- all of this entails challenges, and in our teaching we recognize and value what this means to our students. From the shift to in-person meetings to phone calls or in-person lectures to livestreams, we think of and are aware of impacts on students. Donating helps address the financial challenges faced by students. In addition, as discussions about the current and longer-term impacts unfold, we know that we are not returning to last year's normal.The health, economic and higher education costs of this pandemic are enormous. Donating helps address those funding gaps. As we continue to have open, honest, challenging discussions of the impacts of COVID-19 on our lives, donating can help address the practical financial challenges.”
  — Peter B. Gray, UNLV professor of anthropology; adjunct professor, UNLV School of Medicine
  Area of support: Graduate Student Emergency Fund


Illustration by Sydney Mendoza