Dana and Greg Lee have taken a creative approach to family giving: they have established a generous endowment to the university that has not yet been designated. When their daughter, Katie, graduates in 2023, she will have the opportunity to direct this support to a meaningful area of campus through the Gaucho Family Legacy Program. This program provides an opportunity to honor a student’s experience by giving a gift that will last in perpetuity and foster a lifelong connection to UC Santa Barbara.
“We haven’t designated the endowment yet because Katie may not yet know what has been the most impactful part of her experience,” said Greg. “There are so many great minds and passionate people at UC Santa Barbara, and this gift could start a lifelong process of being involved in active philanthropy. We would like her to reflect.”
“And take agency,” added Dana. “We hope that this can serve as a way for Katie to think about UCSB, her own growth, and how she envisions the university providing optimal experiences for future students.”
Greg and Dana have both found fulfillment in remaining involved with their own alma maters and hope that their children follow that path to active philanthropy. This gift is an investment in that process and the bright scholars of UC Santa Barbara.
“Education is something that we very much value and treasure in our families, on both sides, for generations,” said Dana.
Greg is the executive Chairman of the Eureka Casino Resort, a company he founded with his parents, Ted and Doris. He grew up in San Francisco and spent time in Las Vegas with his parents, small scale real estate developers.
“My dad received his J.D. and his MBA from UC Berkeley. We have a lot of respect for the UC system,” said Greg.
Greg followed his parents into the real estate and casino business in Las Vegas in 1998, after attending law school at USC and practicing law for a few years in New York City, where he met Dana. Dana was a consultant then for an international branding consultancy and previously worked at the Guggenheim Museum after receiving her masters in nonprofit arts management. Her passion for giving back was modeled by her parents and solidified through her various volunteer projects as a young adult.
Today, both Greg and Dana sit on numerous non-profit boards and engage in philanthropy across education, the arts, social justice, and economic empowerment. In addition to supporting their own alma maters, and those of their daughter and their son, Graham, they support the University of Las Vegas Nevada with scholarships and through their ongoing support of the Lee School of Business. The Lees appreciate the unique opportunity for family giving that UC Santa Barbara provides.
“I think it’s wonderful that UC Santa Barbara has the Gaucho Family Legacy Program, in which the whole family can get engaged by naming it for their student,” said Dana. “Our children have always had our values of care, empathy, and social justice, and this is the right time to involve them in our philanthropy. I couldn’t ask for a better vehicle to do so.”
“We are happy to help support UC Santa Barbara to show our appreciation for what it’s done for Katie,” said Greg. “Institutions that do good can’t be taken for granted.”