The UNLV Foundation’s donor relations department may not be one you are familiar with, but their work reaches every corner of campus. Their job is to give donors the opportunity to “feel great by doing good.” And that means they ensure donors are acknowledged for their gifts and thanked appropriately.
Throughout the year, they report to donors on the impact their investment is making on UNLV and help monitor disbursements to verify that the intended purpose of each gift is fulfilled. They also inform, engage, and celebrate donors with special events and communications such as the Giving Matters newsletter, birthday cards, personal notes and letters, videos, and more.
Elissa Stecki, the coordinator of donor relations programs, works daily to ensure UNLV donors feel appreciated. She partners with the records department, development officers across campus, President Keith Whitfield’s office, and UNLV Foundation President Rickey N. McCurry to make sure that the communications they’re sending out are timely, inclusive, and accurate.
How long have you been with UNLV?
I started at UNLV in September 2014 as a special assistant to Nancy Strouse, then executive director of the UNLV Foundation. My primary responsibility was facilitating small informal gatherings hosted by UNLV Foundation Board of Trustees members. The meetings introduced the board and key donors to UNLV’s leadership.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy getting to know donors and making them feel good about donating to UNLV. I also like collaborating with my team members on special projects.
Where did you work before you came to UNLV?
Before coming to UNLV, I worked at the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2009-14 as executive assistant to the IT director. Before that, I lived in Schaumburg, Illinois, and worked as a consultant preparing market studies for home builders and presenting research at industry events.
What brought you to Las Vegas?
In 2009, I was laid off due to the housing crisis. My sister lived here, my son and daughter were attending UNLV, and I visited them frequently while looking for a new job. My husband and I realized we were willing to move here and already owned a home in Henderson. I eventually accepted a job at the Las Vegas Review-Journal and moved here full time. My husband was a fire captain in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, and wasn’t quite ready to retire. He joined me in Las Vegas in 2015.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you are not working?
We have a granddaughter who is fun to spoil. We have a boat and enjoy being anywhere near water. We also have off-road vehicles that we ride in the desert. Unlike Illinois, Nevada has many areas to explore off-road.
We are fans of the Vegas Golden Knights and the Chicago teams. I have been fortunate that all the major league teams in Chicago have won championships in my lifetime, even the Cubs after 108 years. Also, the Michael Jordan days were incredible!
What would people be surprised to know about you?
While at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, I was selected to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game at Cashman Field. I met Frank Thomas (formerly with the Chicago White Sox), and we took a picture together.