Drive Leader Spotlight

Role at Samuel Merritt Universitysue grieve samuelmerrit dl post

I am an assistant professor at Samuel Merritt University in the Physical Therapy Department. Samuel Merritt University has been a part of the Oakland community since 1909. We train the next generation of health care providers in the physical and occupational therapy, nursing, physician assisting and podiatric medicine professions to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities for all members of our communities.

How did you first learn about Family Giving Tree?

A number of years ago, I noticed a collection bin at my local coffee shop. I’ve always valued education and loved shopping for school supplies myself, so every year I would fill a few backpacks and drop them off while enjoying my cappuccino.

What do you love most about being a Drive Leader?

I would say seeing the enthusiasm in our students in setting up the drive every year is really rewarding. Once the backpacks come rolling in, the students frequently talk about how “awesome” it is that kids who need the support will be able to start the new school year on an even playing field with others. 

What was your favorite school supply item growing up?

I love pens – still do and staring at my desk right now I have way too many scattered about!

Pro Tip for Other Drive Leaders

One of the ideas our students had this year was to attach a QR code to their flyer which brought people directly to the SMU drive web page. Within a week of opening the drive we already had close to $1,000.00 in donations through our virtual giving tree!  I think this year we will definitely have more online donations than actual backpacks.