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Paths to Parent Engagement and Philanthropy

By Eric Gifford

As a new academic year kicks off, we are excited to see students returning to campus. And we are eager to help connect UC Davis parents with the many opportunities to get involved in enhancing the student experience.

A particularly rewarding, effective way to do this is through philanthropy. Parents make a difference across campus by supporting programs and services that run the gamut from basic student needs to life-changing educational experiences.

Services addressing basic needs include the Student Pantry, serving the 44 percent of students who report worrying where their next meal will come from; Aggie Compass, which helps students access food, housing, financial and health services and the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center, which helps students with uncertain immigration status stay in school.

When it comes to transformative learning experiences, parents may consider supporting the Parents Fund, a resource that elevates the quality of teaching and research at UC Davis.

Key programs supported by the Parents Fund include the Chancellor’s Fellows, which provides funding for outstanding young faculty to build upon their teaching and research excellence in ways that provide hands-on learning opportunities for students and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, which rewards students whose achievements in research or scholarship have been deemed outstanding.

A particularly effective group for parent philanthropy and engagement is the Family Fellows, whose members support programs and services they are passionate about and provide a needed perspective to campus leaders when considering priorities at UC Davis. Family Fellows are committed to enhancing our students’ learning experience in ways that strengthen the campus community and help students reach their full personal and professional potential.

Whichever path you choose — and since they are not mutually exclusive, you can choose them all —please know that we consider families to be among our most valued and important assets. You can and do make a difference in the quality of education and community here at UC Davis. 

Whether your student is new or returning, we wish all of you a fun and fruitful 2019-2020 academic year.

For more information about how parent giving makes a difference in students’ lives, contact Eric Gifford, Director of Development in Parent Giving, at, (530) 752-4903.

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