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Staples Foundation Steps Up to Help Students in Need

By Eric Breier

Dorris Staples always had a passion for helping others. The board members of her foundation and her friends still remember hearing her describe it as helping someone get from one side of a bridge to the other, making sure they had the footing and could establish a path or develop an interest or opportunity.

Staples passed away in 1999, but she and her late husband, David, continue to have an impact through the David T. and Dorris E. Staples Foundation, a private family foundation established in 1996 to support education, youth and students.

“She was the most gracious, giving person,” said Joe Bowe, the president of the Staples Foundation. “Being around her, she just exuded this awareness and this graciousness. She would see an opportunity where she could help someone, and she would do it.”

Cal State San Marcos students have benefited from the Staples Foundation’s generosity for more than a decade. The foundation has supported programs like the Alliance to Accelerate Excellence in Education, the Cougar Pantry, the School of Education and, in a nod to Dorris’ passion for music, the university’s path to receiving the prestigious All-Steinway School designation.

With many CSUSM students facing financial hardship in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, the Staples Foundation has stepped up once again. The foundation provided three gifts last month to help CSUSM students who are struggling with housing and food insecurity.

“The David T. and Dorris E. Staples Foundation has been an incredible supporter of so many CSUSM programs over the years, and we’re extremely grateful for their generosity in helping our students during this challenging time,” said Cathy Baur, vice president for University Advancement.

Seeing CSUSM’s immediate need to support 20 students dealing with housing insecurity, the Staples Foundation provided more than $22,000 to cover housing costs and supplies. An additional $15,000 gift is being used to hire two CSUSM Master of Social Work student interns through the summer to coordinate student requests for support through the Cougar Care Network and connect students with campus and community resources in a timely and efficient manner.

The Staples Foundation also stepped in to assist Associated Students, Inc., in the mobile distribution of food to students. Twice a week, the mobile site allows CSUSM students to receive food items just as they did on campus at the Cougar Pantry. The Staples Foundation’s gift of $11,000 is allowing ASI to serve 200 students every month for up to six months.

The Staples Foundation gifts also provided excitement for the community support of CSUSM students, including One CSUSM, a 24-hour period of giving on Tuesday, May 5 in support of CSUSM’s Student Relief Fund, which offers tuition assistance, scholarship support and critical aid to students experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 crisis.

Bowe is part of a three-person Staples Foundation Board, which also includes Barbara Fischer and Karen Jobe. Bowe, Fischer and Jobe believe the Staples Foundation’s gifts are part of its ongoing mission to give in the same spirit that Dorris used in helping others.

Married in 1934, David and Dorris were together for more than 50 years before David’s passing. After a lifetime living around the globe, they settled in Fallbrook in 1980 when they were mostly retired.

Dorris was an accomplished singer with a deep appreciation for and involvement in music and community theater. That passion inspired Dorris to help youth throughout the region have an opportunity to appreciate it, whether it was through the purchase of instruments or providing bus transportation so students could see a symphony performance.

Dorris said many times that since she didn't have children, she felt in a way that in giving these students the opportunity to appreciate music, they were like her extended family.

Media Contact

Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist

ebreier@csusm.edu | Office: 760-750-7314