UTPA Report: University recognized for charitable campaign


POSTED: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 12:14pm

UPDATED: Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 12:12pm

Employees at The University of Texas-Pan American contributed in big ways to local organizations and as a result were recognized by the largest employee based charitable campaign in the State of Texas. Here's Sandra Quintanilla with this week's UTPA report.

UTPA employee Felipe Salinas is a strong believer in contributing to his community. In fact, the university grant writer says he's been donating to different causes in the form of money and volunteer time for as long as he can remember. He credits his family for instilling in him the gift of giving.

Felipe Salinas a UTPA employee, "Our family has always believed in contributing back to the community, the way we volunteer but also out of our own pocket. We just think it’s a responsibility so I never hesitate when the appeal comes out every year."

The appeal Salinas is referring to is the State Employee Charitable Campaign, an initiative organized by United Way and spearheaded by a group of people representing several agencies whose primary goal is to raise money for organizations across the globe. Salinas says he is motivated to contribute to the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation for a special reason.

Felipe Salinas, "Our daughter who is now 18 years old was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was age 10. So, after that happened that moved to the top of our list."

Salinas isn't UTPA's only dedicated supporter of the state's charitable campaign. This year, employees at UT Pan Am broke records in the Rio Grande Valley's four county area winning two trophies for their gracious donations. At a reception held recently on campus, UTPA received a Shining Star award for having the biggest increase in donor giving and a Lone Star for being the largest contributor among the 27 participating organizations.

Dagoberto Garza, Campaign Committee Member, "It's over $42,000 donated by employees alone from the university that’s a huge percentage. The total amount for the campaign in the four country area was a little over $240,000, so you see that those $42,000 is a big chunk of that."

Organizers say most of the contributions are made to local agencies and charities like the American Red Cross, the Rio Grande Valley Food Bank and The Salvation Army which means the money stays in the Valley. UT Pan Am President Robert Nelsen is not at all surprised with the commitment of giving by UTPA's employees. He says the faculty and staff have big hearts.

Robert S. Nelsen,UTPA President, "It’s always from the kindness of others that we progress in this world and Pan Am, the employees they stepped up big time. We set records this time people really care and they are willing to sacrifice to help others."

I'm Sandra Quintanilla reporting for UTPA and News Center 23.


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