”I believe that science and research are the foundation of all welfare, that is why I donate"

Several generations of alum Ilona Ervasti-Vaintola’s family have studied at the University of Helsinki. Today, she supports research conducted at her alma mater with donations, as she believes that science and research are the foundation of all welfare.

The idea to become a donor came to Ilona Ervasti-Vaintola roughly a decade ago when she celebrated her sixtieth birthday. Her wish was for any gifts to be directed to medical research conducted at the University of Helsinki. At the same time, she herself made a donation.

“I’m proud that we have such a great university in Finland. I wanted to contribute to supporting its success in every way,” Ervasti-Vaintola says.

The anniversary campaign was a catalyst for donating that continues to this day. Over the years, Ervasti-Vaintola has donated to the University of Helsinki, for example, in connection with various celebrations and anniversaries. When a friend or relative has had a public defence, birthday or other event, she may have given them a gift in the form of a donation.

“It really makes the recipients happy, since these days everyone already has so many things.”

A family with students at the University of Helsinki since the 19th century

Ilona Ervasti-Vaintola graduated as an attorney-at-law from the University of Helsinki in 1975 and has a career in the financial sector. She joined the University’s alum community about 15 years ago.

However, the relationship with her alma mater dates further back.

“I’m a child of students. When I was three, we lived at Fabianinkatu 8. I always said that I would go to the park and my mother would go to the unipark, when she went to study Finnish at the University.”

Besides her immediate family, Ervasti-Vaintola’s more extensive family has a long tradition of respect for scholarship and the University community.

“Both my mother’s and father’s family have followed a principle according to which you continue your studies at the University of Helsinki after completing the Finnish matriculation examination.”

According to Ervasti-Vaintola, the father of her maternal grandmother completed a degree in law at the University of Helsinki in 1890.

Thanks to her donations and alum identity, Ervasti-Vaintola has had the opportunity to contribute to the University’s operations and be part of a community interested in promoting them.

Donations from the heart

Ervasti-Vaintola considers science and research the foundation of the welfare of society as a whole, which is why she was shocked to learn how much less funds for research the University of Helsinki has at its disposal than, for example, Stockholm University.

“And yet, results are achieved. That’s something that has really hit me.”

Over the years, Ervasti-Vaintola has supported both basic research and campaign-type projects.

“I choose my donation targets pretty much from the heart, genuinely hoping for their success.”

Donations make Ervasti-Vaintola feel good. She finds it easy to donate through the University of Helsinki’s donation website. The sums can be quite small.

“Donating doesn’t have to be a solemn act,” Ervasti-Vaintola says.

“I would like to see donations made to the University more commonplace so that everyone can make smaller or larger donations for various reasons and choose their desired donation targets. Donations are very important.”