Donor Spotlight: Nancy Utley


We get tremendous satisfaction learning about our supporters, and especially what motivates them to do good in our community. In this post, we are honored to talk with Nancy Utley, a tremendously kind person and co-President of Fox Searchlight Pictures (which produced our personal favorites 500 Days of Summer, The Wrestler, and the recent Battle of the Sexes). She is committed to changing the number of homeless college students and a major supporter of the shelter, which inspired us to share her story. 

Where are you from, and what do you do?

I’m from Glen Ellyn, Illinois and I am co-President of Fox Searchlight Pictures, the independent film division of 20th Century Fox.

What attracted you to the cause of student homelessness?

I read an article about Bruin Shelter and it enlightened me about the issue of student homelessness, which I am embarrassed to say is not something I had ever really thought about.  I have six children/step-children who have graduated from college.  I know that college can be, at times, a very stressful time for any student.  To add homelessness to that stress is something that breaks my heart.

What attracted you to Bruin Shelter, in particular?

I identify strongly with college students and young people in their 20s because they are the age of my children.  I want all young people to have the best possible chance to succeed and to follow their dreams.

 What was your most meaningful memory from college?

My most meaningful memory about education is how hard my father worked his way up from a childhood with few advantages to being able to send me to any school I could get into.  Neither of my parents went to college and I am the oldest child so I was the pioneer and so very grateful to being given the gift of education.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

People might be surprised to find out that I am actually an introvert in an extrovert’s job.  I don’t love social situations but I force myself to get out there and represent our company and our films.

 Why do you think student homelessness should be a priority for the Los Angeles community?

Student homelessness should be a priority for all who can help because students are our future.  Educated folks will be equipped to tackle all the issues facing the United States and the world from ecological crises, to foreign affairs, to racial and gender injustice, and all the rest.  Each student should have a chance to do his or her best work and be enabled to contribute their special contributions to our world.

Thank you Nancy for being a guardian for vulnerable young people!

Michelle Ross