Donor Finds Ways for Her Contributions to Have a Ripple Effect

Kathleen PierceKathleen Pierce invests in endeavors that not only change lives, but empower and inspire recipients to, in turn, go out and make a difference in the world.

Since retiring 10 years ago from Kaiser Permanente where she worked in health plan administration, Pierce has dedicated her life to many worthy causes. She volunteers twice a month at the Las Colinas Detention Facility. She talks with the women, prays with them and offers support, encouragement and a sense of hope.

Pierce is also a member of Dimensions, a San Diego women's organization that provides scholarships to women who are returning to school after an interruption in their education. She also volunteers for the Assistance League of San Diego County. The nonprofit organization runs a local thrift shop that raises money to purchase school clothes and shoes for homeless or other needy students.

"The students come in busloads," Pierce says. "They are so grateful and send us the nicest thank you notes."

It's not surprising then, that Pierce was drawn to the University of San Diego looking for ways to get involved and help students. She attends music recitals, holiday events such as Lessons and Carols and Bridges Academy and University of the Third Age, two USD programs that offer people 55 years and older the chance to attend workshops and seminars on a variety of topics, including the arts, current affairs, history, science, medicine and technology.

At one Bridges Academy event she recalls meeting a student who was studying in the School of Business Administration.

"I was impressed because he said many of his classes zeroed in on the ethics of business," she says. "He told me that in his work, he wanted to profess or express the values he learned here. That means those values would live on and make a difference to others."

Pierce enjoys it all, but says the program that's closest to her heart, however, is the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. She watched the construction of the building, she attended many of its events and, recently, she funded a scholarship for students earning a Master of Arts in Peace and Justice Studies.

"There aren't very many places in the world where you can earn a degree in peace studies," Pierce says. "I wanted to contribute to something that doesn't stop, that continues and allows students to go on doing good."

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