When Lorenzo de la Rosa (BSCJ’15) opened his mailbox last year, he found something from his alma mater. As he read the information, it took him back to his days at O’Neill IUPUI. That mailing—and his memories—inspired him to help the next generation of graduates and become a first-time donor to the O’Neill School at IUPUI.
“I donated to support my fellow public servants and to show my camaraderie with the school,” de la Rosa says.
He acknowledges that many alums may still be working to develop their careers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t give back where they are now. Whether it’s $25, $250, or $2,500, de la Rosa knows every dollar donated counts. After all, he’s now a tax analyst for the Indiana Department of Revenue. His work allows him to see the impact financial stress can have on Hoosiers—and students.
“Many students are struggling financially,” he says. “While I never received a scholarship, I know financial assistance allows students to maximize their potential with less of a financial burden.”
Alumni donations help scholarship recipients focus on academic work rather than worrying about how to make ends meet. De la Rosa says once alumni become financially stable, it’s important for them to remember where they were years ago.
His message to his fellow alumni is simple: “Do you wish someone would have helped you financially when you were in college? If so, then you know what these students are facing. The difference is that you’re now the one who is in a position to help them. It’s incumbent upon us to act.”
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De la Rosa says his first donation won’t be his last. He feels a commitment to students who share his dedication to public service. That’s why he specifies his gift goes to help those pursuing a degree in criminal justice and public safety.
“I have so much respect for people who want to be public servants,” he says. “That career takes sacrifice on a lot of levels.”
What he says doesn’t have to be a huge sacrifice is giving back to O’Neill students. In fact, 55% of O’Neill IUPUI donors make a contribution of $100 or less.
“I gave $50,” he says. “There are many students who benefit from these donations, no matter the amount. It all adds up to scholarships. You don’t have to make a large gift to make a difference.”