Why they give

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Foundation employees – who see the fruits of philanthropy every day – share the reasons they donate, too.

Ian Chapo, new UNL grad.

Ian Chapo, new donor.

The 22-year-old graduated with degrees in economics and political science on May 10. Eleven days later, he made his first gift to the university – one for the Model United Nations Fund, which supports the Model United Nations student group he belonged to at UNL.

“I give because of everything the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska Foundation have done for me,” Ian says. “My education was funded by scholarships, and the foundation played an integral role in helping my student organization, Model United Nations, succeed financially.”

This past spring break, he and other members of the group traveled to the real United Nations in New York City, thanks in part to that fund. The students and others from around the country played the roles of diplomats from around the world.

Ian Chapo, Pakistan.

That’s what his nametag said.

He learned things about world politics on that trip that go beyond a textbook.

Scholarships gave him the chance to get involved on campus, he says, and to commit extra time to activities beyond the classroom. Besides Model United Nations, he was able to spend a study-abroad summer in China. A UCARE grant paid him to do undergraduate research with a faculty member, Dr. Patrice McMahon, who was doing research on post-conflict state building.

Says Ian: “I am a proud graduate of the University of Nebraska and want to play a role in funding the future success of the school and its many wonderful programs.”

Ian, a research intern at the foundation for the past year, was one of many foundation employees who told their own stories of giving to the university recently, during a foundation-wide fund-raising effort called “Why I Give.”

Some other stories:

Inscribed on the gravestone of my parents in the Kearney Cemetery is one of their favorite sayings: “You don’t have to set the world on fire, but brighten the corner where you live.” Through their commitment to community, my parents provided a wonderful example of how to work hard, give back and help others. They believed strongly in education and the University of Nebraska. To this end, my wife, Susan, and I have been supporting the Robert and Jackie Rosenlof UNK Honors Scholarship Fund that recognizes strong community engagement. Along with my siblings, we desire for this scholarship to reflect the commitment my parents had to giving back to their community and the University of Nebraska. … While I give to honor my parents, I also give because through my work at the foundation, I have witnessed how even one scholarship to a student can make a tremendous impact.

— Clark Rosenlof, vice president, principal gifts & capital projects

My story is very simple. I give because of the impact my Foundation co-worker Jessica Lutton Bedient made on my life in the very short time that I knew her. She exemplified and embodied philanthropy and was wise beyond her years. I couldn’t help but smile every time I saw her or talked to her. She wanted to help every child in the world, and her excitement and spirit of giving really touched my heart. God Bless you, Jess!

— Gina Pearson, administrative assistant

Some of you know that my first husband died of cancer when Jordan was just a toddler. …  Cancer research is near to my heart. Although I cannot give a lot, I know the sum of all the large and small gifts can make a difference. Imagine that one person doing research at UNMC that could someday make cancer not such a scary word! I am proud to know that I may play a part in that discovery by my small donations.

— Kathy Rauscher, managing senior director, business intelligence

Having joined the UNF family just a few weeks ago, I look forward to embracing each day and learning a bit more about just how special this organization, university and state really are. One of the “nuggets” I’ve discovered is the Barkley Memorial Center. My family and I are uniquely interested in the center, due in part to a hearing loss I developed as a child, and as a father to a young son who has speech and language processing challenges. We’ve been fortunate enough to have had access to resources that have helped my son, and having the opportunity to support the center is a great way for us to help provide support to other families who might not otherwise be able to access the resources they need for their particular situation.

— Brian Neale, senior director of investments

I didn’t realize the importance of supporting the Foundation until I started working here. Everybody can find an area they are passionate about and feel good about supporting! I didn’t realize it at first, but there are so many areas that speak to me. I’ve made gifts to my college (The College of Education & Human Sciences General Development Fund), the Susan Rosowski Cather Endowment Fund, the Anderson Children’s Garden Fund and the Kit & Dick Schmoker Reading Center Fund. I also have donated to several memorial funds for those we’ve lost here at the foundation, such as the Bettina L. Baker Memorial Fund, and in honor of others’ loved ones. I don’t make very large gifts, and I certainly have varied interests, but it makes me feel good to give back to a place that has given me so much.

— Kristen Rock, managing director, phonathons & special giving

Ian Chapo and these other foundation employees are among the 94,000 people and organizations that have contributed to the Campaign for Nebraska, now in its final year. About 49,000 of them were first-time donors. If you also feel drawn to give, please consider giving online or contact the foundation at 800-432-3216.

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