Donor Story: Advocacy in Action

Fran and Leroy Harvey.
Leroy and Fran Harvey.

With larger-than-life personalities and boundless enthusiasm for improving health in Louisiana, Fran and Leroy Harvey consider their time spent in support of Pennington Biomedical Research Center a natural fit and a meaningful investment in the future of their home state. The couple became involved with the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation in 2010 and have since made volunteering their time and talent a priority.

“Friends of ours first reached out to us about joining in support of Pennington Biomedical, and we are so thankful they did,” says Fran. Leading by example as members of the Council of 100, they served as co-chairs for Foundation’s Annual Fund for Excellence campaign in 2014-2015. At every opportunity, they invite friends and colleagues to join them for scientific dinners and luncheons and tours to learn more about Pennington.

The Harveys never miss an opportunity to advocate on Pennington’s behalf. “While Pennington is known and respected world-wide in the scientific community, many Louisianans really don’t know the extraordinary work that is going on here,” says Fran.

Furthermore, Leroy adds, “It is important that those of us who recognize Pennington’s value help spread the word and encourage involvement to support it.

“Through the years, we have learned that Pennington Biomedical is a vital asset in our region, one that helps our neighbors to live healthier lives while providing world-class biomedical research and knowledge and significantly bolstering the local economy,” he says.

Their passion for health research was evident during the 2015 Louisiana legislative session when the couple spoke before the Senate Committee on Finance on behalf of Pennington Biomedical. During public testimony on the bill that provides for state operating expenses, including those for higher education, Leroy made an impassioned appeal to the committee. “Tremendous breakthroughs are coming—you can be certain of that. In supporting Pennington Biomedical, the life you save may be your own.

“We are so impressed with the amazing work Pennington Biomedical is doing. We know that the rates of obesity and the incidence of Type 2 diabetes are exploding not only in Louisiana but around the world,” exclaims Leroy. “To be part of supporting the scientists who can help find solutions to these monumental challenges—well, that is nothing short of incredible.”

Fran continues, “If we had to agree on one phrase that sums up how we feel, it would be: Get moving and get involved.”

Leroy agrees, “Your investment in Pennington will definitely result in dividends.”