From left, Kathy Samsom, Lillian Mae Revenig McCoy and Virginia Hass
From left, Kathy Samsom, Lillian Mae Revenig McCoy and Virginia Hass

Philanthropy runs deep among school team

When the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation invested $100 million in UC Davis, it illustrated the power of philanthropy in addressing the biggest issues of our time. It also brought a spirit of philanthropy to the major challenge of reinventing health care, one student and one research project at a time.

Virginia Hass, a nurse practitioner and associate clinical professor, teamed up with her sister, Kathy Samsom, to create the Lillian Mae Revenig McCoy, R.N. Memorial Scholarship in honor of their late mother. McCoy’s nursing career lasted 64 years, during which she was an unsung hero who played the role of cheerleader for others working to overcome obstacles.

“Mom inspired others to reach their full potential,” Hass says. “We know our philanthropy has the ability to continue her legacy and influence future generations beyond the immediate impact of this gift.”

For recently retired Adjunct Professor Jeri Bigbee, an endowed research fund seemed fitting to honor her mother’s legacy of nursing in rural California.

“Mom appreciated the fact that the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing focuses on rural communities and preparing clinicians to serve in rural areas. This is an out-of-the-box school and she was an out-of-the-box woman. It’s a perfect fit,” says Bigbee, founder of the Jeanette M. Spaulding Memorial Rural Research Fund.

Since its founding in 2009, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis established 57 endowed funds, nine of which were started by faculty, students and staff of the school. Investment from these internal stakeholders can also be seen in named spaces and tables within Betty Irene Moore Hall, monthly gifts through employee payroll deduction and donations through the annual fund or Give Day events.

“When we give back from within, we demonstrate the value of philanthropy and the significance of the work being done by our students, faculty and alumni,” explains Sallie-Grace Tate, assistant dean for advancement. “Roughly 30 percent of current faculty, staff and students give back to the school in financial support.”

Jennifer Mongoven, a staff member at the school who serves as the associate director for operations for the Family Caregiving Institute, wanted to honor her mother, a nurse, as well. She chose to name the Rita Mongoven conference room in Betty Irene Moore Hall.

“I’m comforted in the fact that I’m honoring her memory, by not only my work, but in this contribution to the school,” Mongoven says.

Rebecca Badeaux, the school’s director for strategic communications, honored the memory of her late father, Robert Rainer, by naming a propeller table in one of the new active learning classrooms in Moore Hall.

“Daddy invested in a hospital foundation in my hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, both through serving as its foundation board president and by supporting its mission financially,” Badeaux says. “Continuing his legacy in this way made perfect sense.”

Assistant Clinical Professor Susan Adams established the Susan L. Adams Leadership in Health Policy Award to support students with experience in policy work or advocacy, a commitment to interprofessional collaboration and active membership in a professional health care organization.

“It’s important for me to put my money where my mouth is and truly invest in our students who, one day, will be leaders in health policy,” says Adams, who is a nurse practitioner and former county supervisor in Northern California.

These gifts are more than just a statement about these individuals’ belief in the power of supporting future nurses, family nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurse educators.

“This philanthropy illustrates the importance of finding innovative approaches to health care through nursing science research, and memorializing incredible people who have shaped families and communities through their dedication to health care professions,” Tate says.