Giving Back: SSW staff member committed to training the next generation of warriors through 44+ years of giving

For more than 44 years, Neva Nahan, associate director of the Center for Social Work Research, has been giving back to Wayne State University.

Neva Nahan“Before I came to the School of Social Work (SSW), I was at the Center for Urban Studies. I ran a unit that was run almost entirely on grant funds. We were highly encouraged to give, so I did. Even though I wasn’t able to give a lot, I knew that I could contribute $10 or $15 from my paycheck—something I would not likely miss,” Nahan said.

When she started her career at the SSW, she continued the tradition.

Calling herself “Wayne State born and bred,” Nahan took the bus to WSU as an undergraduate Criminal Justice student, worked as a student assistant and research assistant, and used her tuition benefit to earn her master’s in Sociology.

“I’ve worked in a salaried position for almost 45 years. This place has given a lot to me—knowledge, skills, friendships, and a career. I feel like giving back is the least I can do,” she said.

Nahan loves the culture and atmosphere she’s surrounded with.

“I especially like working here because of the diversity of students, faculty, and staff. I’ve been here a long time and I’ve had a variety of roles. The people I work with keep changing and the topics they study change. I care about that!” she said.

Despite Nahan’s history of giving to WSU for more than four decades, her family and friends weren’t aware of her level of generosity. “I don’t think they know,” she said. “I’m not one to toot my own horn, but giving is a priority for me.”

Because Nahan has given consecutively to WSU for so long, she is a member of Wayne Loyal, an organization that honors its most loyal supporters. Perks of being in the exclusive group at Nahan’s level of membership (20+ years of consecutive giving) include WSU press and bookstore discounts, quarterly engagement opportunities, anniversary cards, invitations to President’s tailgates,  induction into the “Lifetime Loyalty Circle” club, an invitation to special Lifetime Loyalty Circle club events and more.

She primarily gives to the SSW because she connects deeply with the school’s mission.

“It’s about making a difference through generation of knowledge and training new practitioners. I contribute to that effort with my work as well as my money,” she said.

Wayne State Giving Day this year is April 13, 2023, with the theme, “Give Green, Be Gold.” Giving Day is an annual event that inspires the entire Warrior community to join forces to maximize our support of Wayne State University and the campus causes that mean the most to us. Donors are encouraged to give online, make gifts early, offer matching donations, and offer a challenge to inspire others to give. Sharing on social media is encouraged: when donors contribute through their GiveCampus account, all sharing buttons generate a campaign link that is unique to them. When they use these buttons to share the campaign on social media or through email or text, their impact will be tracked and celebrated next to their name on the “Advocates” tab on the campaign page.

"Neva has set an incredible example of faithful giving through payroll deduction, a method that makes giving to our students easy and uncomplicated. Through her generous support, she is strengthening our mission to advance social work knowledge and prepare a diverse student body for practice that promotes social justice,” said Theresa Port, SSW’s individual giving officer in Development and Alumni Affairs. 

Nahan said you don’t have to give a lot to make a positive impact.

“Even if it is a few dollars per paycheck, you are making a difference,” she said.

Learn more about how you can impact the lives of Michigan’s future social workers by contacting Theresa Port at 313-577-4429 or Faculty and staff can learn more about inspiring from within and access the payroll deduction form on the WSU Giving website.

Author: Laura Hipshire

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