Why We Give – Shirley and Ralph Shapiro

Shirley ‘59 and Ralph Shapiro ’53 JD ‘58 have deep and lasting ties to UCLA. The Shapiros have given their unwavering support and attention to the UCLA community for many years, having supported several units across campus — The David Geffen School of Medicine, the School of Law, the School of Dentistry, and School of the Arts and Architecture to name a few. Students at the UCLA School of Nursing have also benefited from the largesse of Shirley and Ralph Shapiro. In the past three years, the Shapiros have made two generous gifts to the School. “I am truly grateful for the extraordinary generosity of Shirley and Ralph,” says Interim Dean Linda Sarna. These additional resources make a huge difference in our ability to provide support to our students who will become the next generation of exceptional practitioners and scholars who will transform healthcare and the profession of nursing.” In 2013 the Shapiros established The Shapiro Family Dean’s Discretionary Fund, which most recently provided funding for eight students to attend the 2015 Western Institute of Nursing (WIN) Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The theme of this year’s conference was Equity and Access: Nursing Research, Practice, and Education. Attendance at conferences, such as WIN, is critical to success in improving healthcare in the 21st Century. These experiences provide nursing students with important professional development opportunities such as networking with nursing leaders who are accomplished and published scholars and scientists, as well as multiple learning opportunities to present scholarly work in a welcoming environment, receive instant feedback from outstanding nursing scholars, and learn about the latest cutting edge nursing science for clinical, academic and research.


“My experiences growing up in South Los Angeles and witnessing extreme poverty, racism, and low access to healthcare fostered my growth and knowledge in health disparities and how nursing can be the catalyst to providing change. With assistance from The Shapiro Family Dean’s Discretionary Fund, I attended the WIN conference where I had the opportunity to meet with and receive mentorship from faculty sponsors who have expertise in working with minority populations.”

—Sharon Cobb, MSN, RN, PhD (C)

In 2015 the Shapiros established The Shapiro Family Student Emergency Loan Endowment, which will provide financial assistance to students in case of an emergency. Illness, family obligations or other unexpected life challenges often impede a student’s academic progress by adding financial strain. Knowing there is an opportunity to obtain a quick, simple short-term loan with no interest through the School gives students a sense of peace.


“Several years ago I was inspired by the enthusiasm and drive of a young physical therapist who was planning to attend the UCLA School of Nursing. Since that time, Shirley and I have witnessed firsthand the true dedication and strong work ethic of nurses in a variety of settings. By giving to the UCLA School of Nursing, we are supporting its mission to prepare nurses and scholars to care, heal and make a difference in people’s lives.”

—Ralph Shapiro