Bill Greehey encourages donations to the SECC
By Rosanne Fohn
San Antonio philanthropist and business leader Bill Greehey visited the UT Health Science Center Sept. 6 to encourage leaders and managers to contribute to the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC). He asked them to lead by example with their contributions and to support SECC coordinators in their departments as they ask all Health Science Center faculty and staff to give to their choice of more than 500 charities.
The SECC is a six-week campaign (Sept. 4-Oct. 5) for state institutions that promotes charitable giving to make lives better in our community. The agencies support a variety of causes: children, families, the elderly, animals and the environment, as well as research to fight various diseases, including those that directly benefit the Health Science Center.
For example, the Cancer Center Council provides funds that support programs at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center. The Chromosome 18 Registry & Research Society was established by Jannine Cody, Ph.D., associate professor of research in the Department of Pediatrics’ Division of Genetics and Metabolic Disorders, to fund research on chromosome 18 abnormalities.
Joy of giving
Greehey, who previously served as chair of the United Way of San Antonio which manages the SECC in this region, noted that “So many people don’t know the joy of giving.” He said, “I had a lot of fun in business growing Valero,” which he founded and chaired for many years. “But I’ve had a lot more fun giving back to the community,” he said.
Now the chair of NuStar Energy L.P. and NuStar Holdings LLC, Greehey is the driving force behind the city’s Haven for Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of homeless men, women and children by addressing the root causes of homelessness through education, job training and behavioral health services. He also is a well-known civic leader and philanthropist.
“It was hard writing that first check for $25 million to St. Mary’s University, but it’s gotten a lot easier,” he said. In 2007, the Health Science Center celebrated Greehey’s $25 million to the Health Science Center that officially changed the names of the North Campus to the Greehey Academic & Research Campus and the Children’s Cancer Research Institute to the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute.
He quoted a study from Brigham Young University that showed “givers are happier, healthier and richer than nongivers. So why wouldn’t you want to give?”
He mentioned the great work of Health Science Center medical and dental faculty, students and residents who provide care for residents of Haven for Hope.
Greehey also discussed the care a number of his employees and others in the community have received at the Health Science Center. One was Larysa Sholom, who had a rare lung disease. During a six-hour operation in March 2011, UT Medicine physician Scott B. Johnson, M.D., and his team performed a double-lung transplant on Sholom. Dr. Johnson is associate professor, head of the Division of General Thoracic Surgery and surgical director of the Lung Transplant Program of The University Transplant Center, a partnership of University Health System and the UT Health Science Center.
“You all saved her life,” Greehey said.
Nearly 34 percent of Health Science Center faculty and staff gave more than $415,000 to the SECC last year. “You can do better than that,” Greehey said. “You could be giving $600,000 or $700,000.”
Faculty and staff benefit from the SECC
President ad interim Kenneth Kalkwarf, D.D.S., M.S., added that last year 299 faculty and staff applied for assistance from the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, a group of local SECC agencies. “This makes a strong statement. By contributing to this campaign, funds remain local to benefit our very own citizens — sometimes even our friends and colleague,” he said.
In addition to the Cancer Center Council and Chromosome 18 Registry & Research Society that directly benefit Health Science Center programs, Dr. Kalkwarf said, “Many of our students volunteer and interact with SECC agencies as part of their education. Haven for Hope, Alpha Home, AVANCE San Antonio and Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas are just a few that provide hands-on, real-live experiences for our students. This is yet another benefit of giving. And finally, some of our faculty research is funded from other SECC organizations, such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.
How to pledge
“Our campaign continues through Oct. 5,” Dr. Kalkwarf said. “Please consider making your pledge today.”
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