Left to right: Nancy Graydon, director of Development, JSEI and Laura Phillips, chief financial officer, JSEI

Reaching Out to Adopt-A-Family
for the Holidays

For the fifth consecutive year, the staff and faculty of UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute (JSEI) will be among the groups at UCLA participating in the annual UCLA Health System Auxiliary Adopt-A- Family Project. This JSEI tradition of sponsoring UCLA Health System patient and families in need during the holiday season is spearheaded by Nancy Graydon, director of development, and Laura Phillips, chief financial officer. They are joined by a dedicated group that donates time and money to purchase gifts for the “adopted” families.

“This team effort is amazing! It is so wonderful to see the broad spectrum of people at JSEI get involved and think of creative ways to make this time special for our adopted family,” states Nancy.

“For me, this project is one of the highlights of the season. It is an incredibly rewarding experience and reminds you what the holidays are all about – giving to others and helping someone in our community,” Laura adds. In addition to personal gifts such as clothing and toys, many families receive gift certificates for necessities like food and gas. While these essential items are the top priority, the JSEI team also ensures that the youngest members of the family receive special items. Nancy fondly remembers the 14-year-old son from a family adopted in 2008. “Although Brian was excited about the presents, he was thrilled to receive his very first Christmas tree and began decorating it as soon as Laura and I dropped off the gifts,” she notes.

This year, JSEI has committed to adopting more than one family in order to help reach the Auxiliary’s goal of serving more than 200 UCLA Health System families. JSEI encourages other UCLA departments and individual staff and faculty to join the Adopt-A-Family Project and sponsor a family in need of a little extra help this season. Your involvement will make such a difference.

Another way to participate is to make a tax-deductible cash contribution and have the UCLA Health System Auxiliary sponsor a family on your behalf. All funds collected go directly to the families. The deadline for signing up to be matched with a family is Friday, November 20th. Cash donations can be made through December 20th.

For more information, please contact Rachel Dourec at or (310) 470-2068.