Through the proceeds of a real estate transaction, real estate agent Joyce West and her friend Pamela Kelley created the Pamela J. Kelley and Joyce M. West Scholarship Endowment for scholarships to Cal Poly Humboldt basketball players.
“I believe that an education can change people’s lives, and I also believe that playing college sports is one of the best educational opportunities— especially losing a game because you have to go back to a play, learn what you did wrong, review it with your coach, learn how to fix it and then return to the team to practice it and get it right next time—and what an education that is for being successful in life,” Joyce says. “I want to give enough, so Cal Poly Humboldt can give scholarships year after year so we can change a student-athlete’s life for the better.”
Joyce’s philosophy has always encompassed generosity and humanitarianism. She has always been philanthropic, giving back to her community in more ways than one, including becoming a “spare” grandmother for Cal Poly Humboldt basketball players.
About 20 years ago, Joyce’s late husband, Oliver “Al” Pedro lost a friend who attended all of Cal Poly Humboldt's football and basketball games together, so Joyce stepped up and accompanied him. Little did she know she’d soon become a fan and later one of Humboldt Athletic’s biggest cheerleaders and supporters.
“No one tells you how contagious the athletic events are and how wonderful the student-athletes are,” Joyce says. “I tell this story, and people laugh—I say, ‘You think the flu virus is bad, well, the Lumberjack Arena has a sports virus, you go into that gym, and you meet those players, and you catch the virus, and it's incurable, you’ve got it for life.’”
Joyce and her husband would soon become Humboldt basketball player’s “spare pair” of grandparents as they followed the men’s and women’s basketball teams to games all over the country, including Texas, New York, and Tennessee. They also hosted Thanksgiving dinners for players who couldn’t travel home and be with their families due to the game schedules.
These dinners mean so much to Joyce, as players tell her they’re grateful for the dinners and companionship, especially during the holidays.
“During a Thanksgiving dinner, a player was telling me he was so excited, I asked him why he was so excited, and he just hugged and squeezed me and said, ‘I’m in a home for Thanksgiving! I’m in a home for Thanksgiving!’” Joyce says. “I get far more than I give.”
For the past 20 years, Joyce and Al have contributed significantly to Humboldt Athletics, giving to specific athletic fundraising efforts, including the renaming of Lumberjack Arena to the Tom Wood Court, renamed after the University’s legendary basketball coach Tom Wood.
Joyce was a catalyst for the renaming effort, with three significant gifts that totaled $267,500, more than half of the $400,000 raised.
Joyce and Al also created scholarships for Humboldt basketball players.
A couple of years after Al’s passing in 2017, Joyce and Al’s sons established the Oliver "Al" Pedro Memorial Scholarship Endowment with a gift from his estate, which awards scholarships to women’s basketball players in honor of Al’s love for Humboldt basketball. Soon after, Joyce bequeathed a portion of her estate to establish the Joyce M. West Scholarship Fund, which will award scholarships to men’s basketball team members.
As the owner of Community Realty in Eureka, Joyce vows to lead by example.
“I tell my agents, ‘I want agents that want to make a difference, not make a fortune. You can make a fortune while making a difference, but your bottom line is to make a difference, so I need to be an example for them, my children, and my grandchildren,” Joyce says. “With this scholarship, I can be a part of the solution and make a difference in the lives of these student-athletes.”
An excellent method of gifting to Cal Poly Humboldt is through the donation of real estate. Explore the potential benefits, including the possibility of minimizing or eliminating capital gains taxes when considering donating a piece of real estate to the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation.
Joyce’s gift exemplifies how the Humboldt community is boldly rising. Join donors like Joyce West! Help expand access and create new opportunities for Humboldt through the Boldly Rising campaign. Contact the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation at Giving@humboldt.edu or (707) 826-5200.
Photo: Joyce West holding the $150,000 check to the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation she used to create a scholarship endowment for scholarships to Cal Poly Humboldt basketball players through the transaction of real estate property.