Alumni group supports women and philanthropy at USD
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Alumni group supports women and philanthropy at USD

USD Women in Philanthropy focuses on the role women play at USD and showcasing their importance.

This organization is made up of women alumni that tell the story of the role women play at the university. USD Women in Philanthropy displays what USD stands for.

Caitlin Duffy, the USD Women in Philanthropy Director of Development said she is proud she was to work alongside the courageous women at USD, be apart of the USD Foundation and work with President Shelia Gestring.

“USD women all over the country with diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences are united by a shared passion for USD,” Duffy said. “And especially for young women like myself, it is a privilege to have the opportunity to connect with and learn from the women who have come before us.”

This year, USD Women in Philanthropy had a strong focus on mental health.

“The issue of mental health is incredibly important, and especially as students navigate these challenging and uncertain times, ensuring they have access to the resources and support they need is more imperative now than perhaps ever before,” Duffy said.

Members of USD Women in Philanthropy started this initiative to show students that they are supported, Duffy said, and to make the student body and the USD community know that they are here to help in any way by creating the best environment USD can.

Nikki Peters, the USD Women in Philanthropy Steering Committee, said this organization is all about hearing the stories of courageous women and showing support to members.

“I love learning from others,” Peters said. “Listening to different points of view, their hardships and successes is refreshing and allows me to feel belonging to something I can relate to. These women are humble, strong, smart and they are determined to make a difference.”

The members of this organization are here to understand the stories and experiences of other women, but Peters said, they are also there to give support to the university.  

“I believe the financial contributions to Women in Philanthropy is important because it directly or indirectly affects the future outlook of our society,” Peters said. “There are always ways to pay it forward, and if you are in a position to pay it forward, I felt this one was it.”

Angeline Lavin is also apart of the USD Women in Philanthropy Steering Committee. She said USD Women in Philanthropy embodies what USD is about.

“Like students, alumni also want to feel part of a community, and Women in Philanthropy provides another avenue for alumni to build relationships with USD and current students,” Lavin said. “Students attend college to earn a degree, but they also come to college to prepare for life.”

Kari Portice, another member of USD Women in Philanthropy, said the group’s goal is to provide USD students with a community they can be apart of for the rest of their lives.

“Anytime I can be a part of a group of women with a mission, I want to be involved,” Portice said. “WIP is identifying gaps and bringing light and resources to issues where we can collectively have an impact to elevate USD.”