By Ginger O’Donnell | June 14, 2023
For David Levy, AB ’03, and his wife, Allie, an abiding appreciation for family informs their philanthropy. The couple has supported undergraduate scholarships at Washington University for over a decade.
In 2014, they established the annual Myra Sue Levy Scholarship in honor of David’s mother, who died from breast cancer when he was 17. “Her greatest goal was to survive and see me graduate from high school and get into college,” he says. “She didn’t quite make it. But the idea of establishing the scholarship was in honor of her, to say, ‘Other people can go to college because of you.’”
The Levys reside in Chicago, balancing demanding careers with family life. David, an applied mathematics major at WashU, has charted a path as an actuary analyzing economic risk. Allie, a real estate investment manager, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.
As proud parents of 7-year-old Ella, David and Allie continually seek to cultivate their daughter’s optimism and curiosity as David’s mother once did for him. “Ella is very empathetic and bright and finds joy in everything she does,” David says.
The Levys are elevating their philanthropic impact by taking advantage of the Step Up Challenge. When donors make a three-year pledge and a $5,000 gift, the challenge will double the gift to $10,000 the first year and continue providing matching funds as donors increase their annual contribution. The challenge supports Make Way: Our Student Initiative, a fundraising effort that aims to build financial resources for students and create a best-in-class student experience. It is sponsored by Washington University Trustee Larry Thomas, BSBA ’77, who serves as a co-chair of Make Way.
David and Allie describe scholarship giving as a “no-brainer.” “We realize how much has happened between college and now and how much of it is because of where we went to school and the support systems we built,” Allie says. “We’re grateful to be in a position today where we can give back.”
Inspired by David’s mother’s investment in him, the Levys find themselves now invested in the people, education, and future of the broader WashU family. The Step Up Challenge enables them to amplify their assistance to talented students. “I want to support the university because it really supported me after my mother’s death,” David says. “It gave me great friends and experiences and allowed me to have fun at a time when it didn’t seem possible.”
One day, the Levys will have their own college student to contend with. “Last week, Ella wanted to be a veterinarian,” Allie says. “This week she wants to be a sticker artist. Next week will be something else. We’re excited to see where she ends up.”
Learn more about establishing a named annual scholarship for a Washington University student through the Step Up Annual Scholarship Challenge.