Key takeaways:

  • 1 in every 10 students on campus benefits from UCLA services that cater to those in need.
  • Beginning this fall, UCLA will bring together many basic needs services in a new center located in the middle of campus.
  • Offering services through a central hub will enhance their effectiveness, increase their visibility and make it easier for students to access them.

Deepening its commitment to serving as a welcoming place for students from all backgrounds, UCLA will enhance the basic needs services it offers by opening an innovative new center, thanks in part to a $1 million gift from two alumni.

UCLA provides a host of services — emergency funding, food security programs, financial literacy workshops, short-term loans, housing assistance, access to child care, a temporary safe place to sleep for commuters and more — that benefit about 1 in every 10 students, helping to ensure they thrive in their daily lives and at the university.

Historically, such assistance has been available at a number sites across campus. In fall 2022, UCLA will also begin offering many of these basic needs services in the Strathmore Building, located in the heart of campus, providing a source of convenient, centralized and coordinated support.

“It is critical that all UCLA students, no matter their background or means, are able to take advantage of the incredible opportunities that exist on our campus,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “Bringing together our basic needs resources in a central physical location will help ensure that every Bruin has the support they need to focus fully on their academic work, research opportunities, extracurricular activities and campus life.”

The new center is supported by a lead gift of $1 million from alumni Ann Daly and John Gustafson. The married couple are longtime residents of Los Angeles and supporters of UCLA Athletics. Daly is also a member of The UCLA Foundation board of directors.

Their gift helps stabilize basic needs funding for UCLA students, nearly 90% of which currently comes from annual state appropriations and one-time grants, with the remaining amount coming from philanthropic giving.

Without predictable funding, basic needs programming at UCLA can fluctuate from year to year. The Daly-Gustafson gift allows the campus to meet immediate needs and helps fund capital improvements for the center and key administrative positions.

For Daly and Gustafson, who met at UCLA, the gift is personal.

“As former UCLA undergraduates who worked multiple jobs during our college years, we understand the challenges that can arise as students seek to get an education, and the current economic environment has certainly increased the struggle facing some students,” said Daly, who graduated in 1979 with a degree in economics.

“A basic needs center is an impactful way to provide immediate, personalized support to ensure that all students can make the most of their UCLA experience,” said John Gustafson, who earned his degree in business economics in 1980. “It’s about access and clearing the path for success.”

The couple said they are proud to spearhead funding for the basic needs center and hope their gift inspires others to join them in providing philanthropic support that makes a tangible difference in the Bruin student experience.

Through the work of its Community Programs Office, Financial Wellness Program, Economic Crisis Response Team and similar initiatives, UCLA has long been at the forefront of recognizing and providing for students’ basic needs. With additional significant and sustainable investments, UCLA’s basic needs center will serve as a model for peer institutions, both public and private, said Monroe Gorden Jr., UCLA’s vice chancellor for student affairs.

“Financial support, such as this gift from Ann and John, enables us to invest in our diverse community and ensure the success of all students. It’s this kind of thinking and action that sustains UCLA as a powerful engine for socioeconomic mobility,” Gorden said. “We are excited about the potential to grow our services to reach more students and have a greater impact on the role higher education plays in improving their lives.”