Donation will help train students to be future donors
MERCED - The University of California, Merced, has received a
$50,000 gift from the Westly Foundation that will help increase
access to a college education for financially needy students and
establish a class gift-matching program.
The Westly Foundation, a private family foundation that provides
education and health care services for children and underserved
communities throughout California, has pledged $25,000 to launch
the Westly Foundation Class Gift Challenge, and $25,000 to the
Westly Foundation Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund to provide
need-based scholarships for UC Merced students.
“Merced will be the epicenter of the Central Valley’s
spectacular growth in the coming decades,” Steve Westly, founder of
the Westly Foundation and CEO of the Westly Group. “We are seeding
the intellectual capital of the Valley by funding the higher
education of low-income scholars and by encouraging UC Merced
alumni to become donors - essentials to the success of a modern
Each year, UC Merced’s graduating class joins together to give
back to the campus. In an effort to inspire generosity and
participation, the Westly Foundation Class Gift Challenge will
match every graduate’s contribution toward the class gift dollar
for dollar for the next five years.
The Class of 2006 donated an aquarium for the Leo and Dottie
Kolligian Library, and last year’s class is working with an artist
to design a bronze bobcat sculpture to be displayed prominently on
campus. The Class of 2008 will announce their gift to the
university at the commencement ceremony May 23.
“The Westly Foundation’s generous gift will help encourage our
graduates to begin a lifetime of involvement with the university,”
said John Garamendi Jr., vice chancellor for University Relations.
“We want to educate our graduates about giving back and to inspire
them to take meaningful action in furthering the campus’ future.”
Through the Westly Foundation Alumni Scholarship Fund, the
foundation hopes to demonstrate the impact that one gift can make
on a student’s collegiate experience. The scholarship is designated
to be awarded annually to an undergraduate student. The criteria
for the award will be determined by UC Merced’s Office of Financial Aid.
“Thanks to this generous donation, we’re able to provide much
needed scholarship funding for our students,” Garamendi said.
The Westly Foundation was established in 2000 by former state
controller, Steve Westly, and his wife, Anita Yu. The foundation
provides support in the areas of education, youth, health care,
immigration and global security. For more information, visit