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Puma Fund Launches on Monday, October 2!
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Puma Fund Co-Chairs Lissa Armato and Abigail Francis (pictured above) give to the Puma Fund because this fund makes so many opportunities possible for UPrep students.

Puma Fund Launches on Monday, October 2!
Co-Chairs Lissa Armato and Abigail Francis share why they support the Puma Fund

Next Monday, October 2 marks the beginning of the 2023–2024 Puma Fund, the annual fundraising effort that supports our remarkable school. Together with Charlie and Steven, Abigail and Lissa are thrilled to be Puma Fund co-chairs. Below they share why they donate to the Puma Fund and invite you to join them in reaching our increased goal of $1,100,000 and 100 percent parent/guardian participation.

Why did you decide to be a co-chair for the Puma Fund?

Lissa: My husband and I really appreciate how UPrep meets the students where they are and treats them as individuals. We like the various programs that allow kids to dip their toes into something new and interesting to them, whether that’s a new club or sport. In that sense, UPrep is very welcoming. We love the focus on community and being together.

Abigail: This place is special. UPrep has a lot to offer kids and I want to support this. The more we grow the Puma Fund, the more diversity we can offer to the students when it comes to programming. I’m thrilled that students can move beyond their comfort zone as they explore a variety of opportunities.

Why is UPrep a good match for your children?

Lissa: The size works for my daughters. It’s not too small but it’s small enough for them to get to know their classmates, both in their grades and other grades. The teachers really know the students, too. My sophomore joined cross country for the first time this fall. It’s so great that she can roll into a new sport and possibly find a new passion. She’s been very welcomed onto the team—she is doing well and enjoying it. My younger daughter has found friends and the teachers are supportive and meet her needs in the classroom.

Abigail: The culture of the school encourages our students to stretch and advocate for themselves. I see them taking personal responsibility and putting themselves in uncomfortable situations and growing through that process. There is a culture of kindness at UPrep that works well for my kids, too. The families and students are wonderful, and the administrators and teachers do a good job of cultivating a warm and collaborative spirit. My oldest had the opportunity to go on the American South Global Link trip last year and he is assuming a leadership role in Robotics this year. My youngest joined the tennis team even though this is his first time playing. It’s so great that the students at UPrep have the confidence to walk onto a sports team even if they’ve never played before. He’s also excited to take the new Microbiology class in the future.

Why does your family donate to the Puma Fund?

Abigail: It’s about being part of a community. We want to help every student thrive. The Puma Fund doesn’t just benefit the Robotics Team, it benefits all clubs and sports teams. It benefits financial aid, theatre and music programs, and Global Link. The Puma Fund helps my kids and your kids and kids that we have never met. I know the Puma Fund makes so many opportunities possible for UPrep students, from choosing a new sport to taking a trip or being part of the Boba Club [yes, the tea]. I love the idea of building community through donating to the Puma Fund.

Lissa: We give to the Puma Fund because we see that community at UPrep, including the teachers, staff, and their friends, are helping my daughters be their best selves. The opportunities available to them give them new ways of finding themselves and growing their confidence. We all really like the community at UPrep—it’s an appropriate theme for the year! It feels like everyone can be who they are. Giving to the Puma Fund supports this community and gives all students opportunities to be curious and courageous and to step out of their comfort zone.

Headshot photograph of University Prep writer and editor, Nancy Alton

By Writer/Editor Nancy Schatz Alton


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