April 27, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
When Paul and Sally Russo donated more than $35,000 to the University of California, San Diego—the alma mater of sons Jonathan ’03 and Michael ’07—their rationale was twofold. “Giving back is something that we have always done since our sons started preschool,” said Mrs. Russo of the couple’s decision to give to UCSD. “I’ve always felt education was really important.” The second force driving the family’s philanthropy: “I hope that the kids will follow in our footsteps.” The Russos are just one example of the growing number of parents who have chosen to support their child’s university with charitable gifts. Nearly 12,000 parents of UC San Diego students have contributed an impressive $17 million to the university through individual gifts, trusts and family foundations as part of The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What’s Next, a seven-year, $1 billion fundraising effort that will conclude this June.

What compels parents to give to their offspring’s university, even after years of paying educational costs? For many, supporting the institutions that provide a valuable education for their children is a major impetus. So too is the desire to impart the value of philanthropy to their sons and daughters in the hopes that their children will continue the charitable pattern in the future.

Heather Ignatius, a UC San Diego alumna of 2002, noted that for her parents—who recently gave $25,000 to UCSD—education is key: “Because a university education is absolutely critical for my generation, they felt it was important to give back to the schools which my sister and I attended.”

Barb and Howard Ignatius have instilled a tradition of philanthropy in their daughters, leading by example. But they have gone one step further by allowing their children to make the final determination on where to give the money. For Heather, the decision was easy: Eleanor Roosevelt College (ERC), one of six colleges residing within the UCSD campus. “Breaking UCSD into six colleges helps to establish community,” she said. “I got involved at ERC, and found it not only personally gratifying, but it also provided me skills I can use in life.”

UCSD graduates and cousins, Sara Callahan ’02 and Emily Kohl ’05, were tasked with choosing which university department would benefit from the graduate fellowship fund established by their grandfather, Alan Mannason; they picked UCSD’s Communication Department. Since 2004, Mannason has also charged his granddaughters with the responsibility for selecting the two graduate students who will be awarded $2,400 fellowships each year.

“I came up the hard way,” said Mannason. “No scholarships, nobody to help me—so helping people accomplish something is very important to me.” Now, with Mannason’s guidance, his two granddaughters have a newfound appreciation of the value of helping others through philanthropic giving. An appreciation he hopes will create a family legacy of philanthropy for generations to come.

About The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What’s Next:
Since its founding just 45 years ago, the University of California, San Diego has rapidly achieved the status as one of the top institutions in the nation for higher education and research. In order to keep UCSD at the forefront of academic and research excellence, the university launched The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What’s Next in July 2000. Donations to the comprehensive $1 billion fundraising campaign will help support students and faculty, expand academic programs, fund research endeavors and strengthen innovation funds to meet the highest priority needs. The Campaign for UCSD will conclude June 30, 2007. For more information, please visit