United Way of San Joaquin County awards grant to Pacific for COVID-19 relief

United Way of San Joaquin

University of the Pacific has received a generous gift from the United Way of San Joaquin County to support the university’s coronavirus recovery efforts. Pacific is one of several nonprofits to receive aid from the organization which is distributing grants to local agencies to address both immediate and long-term needs caused by the pandemic.

The majority of the gift will go to the Westgate Center for Leadership and Management Development operated out of the Eberhardt School of Business with the intent to help the center create forums for nonprofit agencies to advance their work around the pandemic, assist the area’s most vulnerable populations and help develop future generations of Pacific students who are dedicated to community and public service.  

The remaining portion of the gift will be designated towards the university’s Regents COVID-19 Recovery Fund to provide technology enhancements for classrooms, personal protective equipment for all students, faculty and staff and implement additional safety precautions at the university. The fund will be essential in helping the university transition to in-person learning and welcoming students back when it is safe to do so. 

Dividing the grant between the two designations creates a win-win for Pacific according to Kristen Birtwhistle ’81, ’87, President and CEO of United Way of San Joaquin County. “This will allow Pacific to respond to student needs while at the same time bolstering the programming at the Westgate Center for local organizations at a time when they need it most.”

The success of the region’s local nonprofits, of which Pacific is the largest, is dependent in part on the success of its students. Connecting Pacific students and graduates with the nonprofit community creates a pipeline for internships and jobs, helping to retain talent and strengthen the local economy. 

“This path lets us invest upstream in both students’ safety and their need for relief to continue their education while using the resources at the Westgate Center to help nonprofit agencies create portals for capacity-building and collective coordination,” said Birtwhistle, who is also a proud Pacific alumna. 

 “We are confident that United Way, together with Pacific as our longstanding partner, can help restore, rebuild and reimagine public service in the county.”