Bear2Bear Benefit and Bash 2021 Logo

Save the date for our
3rd Annual Bear2Bear Benefit & Bash!

Thursday, April 15, 2021
Held Virtually

Because of the continued COVID-19 pandemic, plan to join us virtually this spring to support our Bear2Bear Student Emergency Fund!

We will once again feature an online auction, as well as live-streamed entertainment, a program highlighting our Bear2Bear Fund, and a special video honoring Trustee Emerita Nancy Opalack ’71, this year’s recipient of the Bear2Bear Impact Award for Leadership and Service.

The Bear2Bear Fund has provided more than $300,000 in emergency grants for approximately 130 Ursinus students. Close to 60% of emergency fund recipients are the first in their families to attend college.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the economic well-being of so many families this past year, and Bear2Bear has supported struggling students by helping defray educational expenses (especially laptops and books) and providing financial assistance with rent, food security, car repairs, overdue medical debt, and graduation completion costs.

Click here to donate directly to the Fund

Ways to Get Involved

2021 Honoree - Nancy Opalack ’71

This year, we are honoring Nancy (White) Opalack ’71 with the Bear2Bear Impact Award for Leadership and Service. Opalack has devoted her career to advocating for and improving education and services for children in the United States. In 1983, she founded Educational Support Systems, Inc. (ESS), a Washington, D.C.-based organization specializing in school advocacy services for at-risk youth, where she served as executive director until 2019. In 2017, she took on a second, concurrent role as president and chief executive officer of The Harold C. Smith Foundation, created after the passing of longtime Ursinus board member and alumnus Harold C. Smith ’55. During her three years with the Smith Foundation, she not only built out its board of oversight, but also helped with the administration of $20 million in grant funding to more than 26 global organizations. In 2020, she refocused her energies and efforts toward volunteering in support of Christian organizations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as multi-stakeholder community and women’s empowerment projects in Africa. Opalack received her B.A. in English from Ursinus and is a trustee emeritus of the college. She has been honored by Ursinus with its Henry P. and M. Page Laughlin Educator Award, awarded annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions in the field of education.

Read more about our honoree here

What is the Bear2Bear Student Emergency Fund?

The Bear2Bear Student Emergency Fund provides special grants of up to $5,000 to students who are facing temporary financial hardship as a result of an emergency or crisis situation. The fund has also been expanded to include completion grants for students who are near graduation but whose financial circumstances may jeopardize their ability to finish their Ursinus academic careers. 

The fund was generously initiated by our 2019 honoree, Will Abele ’61, a valued alumnus and member of the Ursinus Board of Trustees, in the 2017-2018 academic year and the first grants were awarded in the Spring 2018 semester. The fund is supported through generous donations from members of the Ursinus community including all proceeds raised through the Bear2Bear Benefit & Bash event.

Click here to support the Bear2Bear Student Emergency Fund directly.


Anaya Demota '23Anaya Demota '23



“Thank you so much to the Bear2Bear Student Emergency Fund and its donors for helping me attend Ursinus this fall semester. With the COVID-19 pandemic, my family struggled financially and college for me this semester was just not an option. My dad was diagnosed with COVID and was no longer able to support our family and handle the costs of my college tuition. In that moment, I realized that college was a luxury that I just could not afford this year and I reluctantly made peace with my situation. When I received an email about my grant from the Bear2Bear Fund, I could not believe my eyes. Not only did I receive help with textbooks but also a laptop to help me with my classes as a remote learner. Thank you. I am truly grateful!”

Anaya Demota ’23

Read more stories like Anaya’s 

Questions about Bear2Bear Benefit & Bash?

Contact Us!

Contact Jamie Karinch at or 610-409-3144.