October 1, 2022
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Elon University / Today at Elon / Trapani family endows scholarship, faculty excellence award in business

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Elon parents Kevin and Jennifer Trapani P’07 P’23 P’24, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, have made a generous gift to endow the Trapani Family Engagement Scholarship and Trapani Family Faculty Excellence Award in Elon’s Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. Their gift is part of the Elon LEADS Campaign.

With three of their children and a nephew part of the Elon family, the Trapanis have seen firsthand the impact and value of an Elon education and the importance of scholarships to attract bright students with financial need.

“Our kids’ experiences at Elon have been absolutely transformational,” Kevin Trapani said. “We recognize that often the only thing that stands between a deserving student and a transformative Elon experience is their ability to pay. In every other way, those students are qualified to be at Elon and to contribute to Elon. If we can break down those barriers a bit for more of those students, it will be worthwhile.”

Engagement Scholarships are designed to attract students who embody the spirit and values of Elon. They are bright, curious, resilient, and committed students who refuse to settle for a passive learning experience and are eager to access Elon’s nationally recognized engaged learning curriculum. In addition to their scholarship, recipients are awarded a one-time grant to be used for an engaged learning opportunity, including Study Abroad/Study USA, undergraduate research, internship or a creative project designed by the student.

The Trapanis are co-founders of The Redwoods Group based in Morrisville, North Carolina, the nation’s largest insurer of youth-serving organizations, including the YMCA, Jewish Community Centers and Boys and Girls Clubs. Embedded in the company’s values and practices is the belief that business can and should be a powerful force for positive social change in the world.

That “profit for purpose” philosophy and their admiration for Elon faculty inspired the couple to endow the Trapani Family Faculty Excellence Award in the Love School of Business. The award will be granted annually to a faculty member who demonstrates excellence in teaching and conducts research focused on corporate social responsibility.

“The faculty and staff are the heart and soul of the Elon experience, and we’ve been profoundly impressed by their work,” Kevin said. “We wanted to create an incentive for faculty to embrace and better explore how this concept works. A motivated faculty that embraces this concept will inspire thousands of students.”

“Profit is obviously important, but it shouldn’t be the first and only metric by which we’re measuring the success of our businesses,” Jennifer Trapani said. “We need to take a more holistic view of business and make sure our employees are being taken care of and that we are considering the harm we’re doing to the planet and, yes, profit is part of that. We want to be part of that conversation and help scale it at Elon.”

Raghu Tadepalli, dean of the Love School of Business, thanked the Trapanis for endowing the award, which will advance the school’s commitment to preparing graduates who embrace corporate social responsibility in their careers and in life.

“Kevin and Jennifer’s steadfast belief that business must work for the greater good is part of the mission of the Love School of Business,” Tadepalli said. “We are grateful for their commitment to educating the next generation of ethical business leaders.”

In addition to their endowment commitments, the Trapanis are making generous annual gifts to Elon to enable their scholarship and the faculty excellence award to be awarded immediately.

“We wanted to see things happen now with these gifts because it’s important to us,” Jennifer said. “We feel very blessed to have the resources to do this.”

“Marginalized communities are losing access to resources, and these are students who need our help now,” Kevin said.

‘Elon grows leaders’

Through their gift, the Trapanis are supporting two of the main funding priorities of the Elon LEADS Campaign—scholarships for graduates the world needs and resources for faculty and staff mentors who matter. The couple is impressed by the impact Elon’s student-centered approach to learning has had on their family, including children Caitlin Trapani Walsh ’07, Mallory Trapani ’23 and Andy Trapani ’24, and their nephew Hunter Perkins ’25.

“Elon lovingly meets students where they are and gives them the support and resources to succeed,” Jennifer said. “It feels so good to bring them to Elon and know they’re supported so broadly.”

“Elon grows leaders and there’s no question about that,” Kevin said. “Each of our kids has grown into their own authentic leadership capacity because of Elon. They are living Elon’s values.”

The Trapanis encouraged all alumni, parents and friends to demonstrate their support for Elon by making a gift to Elon LEADS, now in its final year. The campaign concludes on December 31, 2022.

“We’re planting seeds for generations to come,” Kevin said. “We’ve been transformed by Elon so let’s make sure Elon can help more students, families and communities transform. I encourage everyone to step up and create a sustainable Elon.”

About the donors

Kevin Trapani serves as CEO and co-founder of The Redwoods Group and was named one of the 50 most influential leaders in North Carolina. He also serves as executive-in-residence in the Love School of Business and on the board of Elon’s Doherty Center for Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In 2019, he spoke with senior business students as part of the Love School’s “Lessons from Leaders” speaker series. Jennifer is co-founder and chief underwriter emeritus at The Redwoods Group and also holds leadership positions on numerous local boards, including the YMCA, LEAP and Voices Together.

The couple has generously contributed to Elon’s Greatest Needs, the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education, Elon’s Parents and Grandparents Fund and established The Redwoods Group Endowed Fund for the Sustainment of the Periclean Scholars Program.

The Elon LEADS Campaign

Elon LEADS is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university’s history and supports four main priorities: scholarships for graduates the world needs, access to engaged learning opportunities such as study abroad, research and internships, support for faculty and staff mentors who matter and Elon’s iconic campus.

Every gift to the university—including annual, endowment, capital, estate and other planned gifts—for any designation counts as a gift to the campaign, which will support students and strengthen Elon for generations to come. To learn more about how you can make an impact, visit www.elonleads.com.





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