Pier C. Borra and Renne A. Borra ’64, center front, meet with students in the nursing lab of Parmer Hall in October 2016. Their generous gifts have been indispensable to the creation of the Borra College of Health Sciences.

Pier C. Borra & Renee A. Borra ’64 pursue their own special brand of caritas et veritas. They focus the philanthropy of the Borra Family Foundation on equipping students with new capacities for future success. Their generous gift to help fund the College of Health Sciences is doing the same for Dominican itself.

Where does your philanthropic motivation come from? 
We grew up in families of modest means, but we saw our parents constantly volunteering and making a difference. We were both brought up to be generous when we saw an important cause.

What is that “important cause” for you? 
We value self-reliance and striving to better one’s circumstances. That’s why education is important to us -– it helps people get jobs, be independent and contribute to society. Our reward is knowing that our efforts will make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Why Dominican? 
We like to focus on education that brings people practical opportunities for persons to advance. We’ve provided support to help students at community colleges, for example, and found it very rewarding. Then we discovered the nursing program at Dominican and realized how powerful it could be in bringing jobs and a higher quality of life to so many people who hadn’t had such opportunities before.

So giving at Dominican represented an investment for you? 
Some people look at philanthropy as giving to an organization to help it meet its needs. We take a different view. Donors like us have a goal in mind, then seek an organizational partner who can help them achieve it. We saw giving to Dominican as a way to achieve outcomes that were important to us.

Have you been pleased with the results? 
Because the university has a small endowment, it relies on generous friends to innovate and grow. Philanthropy is highly valued at Dominican, so a contribution here has a bigger impact than it might somewhere else.

Would you recommend Dominican to others who invest philanthropically? 
President Donna M. Carroll has a remarkable ability to implement a growth strategy. We’ve worked with lots of startups, and we were extremely impressed with the university’s ability to build an accredited nursing program in such a short period of time.

What device would you offer to those considering a gift to Dominican? 
Look for giving opportunities that suit your interests but also enhance the long-term vitality of the university. Working with Dominican has been very satisfying for us. The College of Health Sciences will launch students into careers that many of them might only have dreamt of, and it feels good to know that the college provides more financial stability for the university and advance its mission. It’s a win for everyone.