February 12, 2021
Las Vegas, N.M. – Participants at the Highlands Loves Virtual Gala Feb. 10 pledged more than $61,000 for student scholarships and other programs, including ones related to COVID-19 hardships.
“People seemed relaxed and eager to participate and do something out-of-the-ordinary,” said Juli Salman, Highlands alumni director. “The Virtual Gala was very engaging and gave us the opportunity to talk about some of the successes that our students are having, and also some of the needs that many are facing. Guests responded with amazing generosity and enthusiasm.”
Salman said the overall positive feelings that were generated with this Highlands Loves event was the most special thing of all.
“The upbeat enthusiasm was palpable. I wish I could bottle it,” Salman said.
Salman said the areas of need that were highlighted were the Dean Farmer Fund, Highlands Athletics, Conservation Science Center@HU, Highlands Friends of Art, The Highlands Career Closet, and The Highlands Food Pantry.
Salman said there was particular interest in people supporting the Dean Farmer Fund, a student emergency fund that supports students experiencing an emergency that causes financial hardship. For example, a COVID-19 scenario like the loss of job resulting in the inability to pay utilities would qualify as an emergency.
“Pledges to the Dean Farmer Fund totaled $10,000, which included a number of $1,000 donations,” Salman said.
Salman said the exciting vacation packages encouraged a lot of bidding during the auction.
“Then the robust giving continued when the needs of our students were made known. What this outpouring of generosity says to me is that our community recognizes the importance of Highlands and its mission and likes what it sees. Our philanthropic alumni recognize the impact that Highlands has had in their own lives and want to pay it forward,” Salman said.
Salman said several local businesses contributed generously to the Highlands Loves fundraiser.
“The Kin at Castañeda restaurant, The Skillet restaurant and Borracho’s Craft Booze and Brews all eagerly supported this event,” Salman said.
Salman said Highlands Loves would not have been possible without the generous support of the Highlands University Foundation Board and the Highlands University Alumni Board.
Salman said she thinks COVID-19 has made people even more aware of how we are all interconnected, and how fragile life can be.
“The desire to help each other has never been stronger, and we are seeing individuals come forward to support our students that we haven’t seen before. It is very heartening and makes us feel so positive about the future. People really do care about one another,” Salman said.