Saturday, June 23, 2018

Tyler-Made Generosity

June 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Feature

Calvin and Tina Tyler, Las Vegas residents for 15 years, have become two of the city’s leading philanthropists: they recently created a scholarship endowment at Morgan State University, along with a donation for a new Calvin and Tina Tyler Hall Student Services Building.

Calvin Tyler, Tina Tyler aand Morgan State University president Dr. David Wilson.

The couple also gave a generous donation to Las Vegas’ Saint Rose Hospital. Calvin, who is a retired UPS executive (Tina is a retired real estate powerhouse) recently shared a personal testimony for financial success and giving back.

Give a short synopsis as to where you came from and how you got to where you are today?

Tina and I grew up in Baltimore, and we were high school sweethearts. I went to Morgan State University for a couple of years, but because of finances I had to drop out and go to work. So I went to work for UPS as a driver in 1964. I spent 34 years at UPS, and I did every job there — including running the United States operations as Senior Vice President of the company. I have served on the Board of Directors for UPS for 12 years and on the board for its foundation. I also served on the board for the National Urban League for 10 years, United Way’s board in Atlanta, and on the Annie E. Casey Foundation board for 20 years. The Annie E. Casey Foundation is the largest  foundation in the country devoted to helping disadvantaged children. It gives grants throughout the United States to help disadvantaged children — most of which are black and brown.

You have a great passion for this?

Yes, I have a great passion for reaching back and helping children — especially from low-income families. That’s basically where Tina and I started. Tina retired as a real-estate executive in Houston, New Jersey, and in California. We have two sons and two grandchildren.

What brought you to Las Vegas?

One of our sons and our grandchildren live in Sacramento, and we wanted a home near them. We built a home in California, and decided to buy a home in Las Vegas because there wasn’t an income tax.

You have given millions to Morgan State University and to Las Vegas’ Saint Rose Hospital. What motivated your giving?

It’s simple: we have been blessed. We feel those who have been fortunate have an obligation to reach back and help others. It’s simple for us. I loved the idea of having an endowment fund for scholarships — because as we continue to add money, it will last longer than Tina and I will. The fund will help children go to Morgan State University long after we are gone. Since we have endowed the fund, we have provided over 250 scholarships for young men and women in Baltimore. Many of the scholarships are full-tuition scholarships. In addition to seeing more of our young people graduate with degrees, I want to see more graduate debt-free. If a graduate has a degree, but are $60,000 to $70,000 in debt, they start out way behind other people. I realized that, because we stayed debt-free our entire life — and we made great financial strides. It is important to live within your means and have no debt. It’s a hard message to get across to some young people.

What is your secret to staying debt free?

My father lived through the Depression, and he never believed in having any debt. I like to convince young people to not have any financial debt. Debt is a pair of golden handcuffs. People don’t realize that it will keep you down financially. You need to find a way to live within your means and have no debt. I told the president of Morgan State University, Dr. Wilson, that if students learned how to maintain their finances as they did when they lived in the university dorms — instead of spending their six-figure salary on plush penthouses and fancy cars after graduation — they will be further ahead financially.

Most young people are no longer trying to “keep up with the Joneses” — they want to be the Joneses.

Tina and I have to fight against this mentality, because it is not the way. Once they get heavily in debt for 30 to 40 years, they will be trapped.

A lot of people don’t have the same passion as you and your wife for HBCUs — and many of them are struggling financially.

That is one of the reasons we are giving to Morgan State University. There are a lot of places Tina and I could give to, but Morgan State is our university of choice.

Why do you think it is so important to attend a historically black college or university?

I went to Morgan State University in 1961. Many people forget that we didn’t have a choice as to what college and university we could attend in Maryland, because of segregation at that time. Many had to go to HBCUs because that is the only place we could go to receive a college or university education. I am really proud of Morgan State University — and have heard that more black engineers graduate from there than any other college or university in the country. It is one of the top five universities in the country.

You recently gave a big financial contribution to Las Vegas Saint Rose Hospital?

When we retired and came to Las Vegas, Tina went to Saint Rose Hospital for treatment. They did a great job serving her and bringing her back. We were forever grateful for that — so we are big donors to Saint Rose Hospital. We really try to make financial gifts we can relate to and that mean something to us.

What is your motto for success?

Don’t let anyone try to put a ceiling on your dreams and your ambitions. That’s a message that I hope resonates with young people because you never know who that someone might be. The person who will try to put a ceiling on you. Most of us think that it will be a racist who will do this. But, on the contrary, it might be your own mother or father who loves you — and they don’t want you to challenge the system or be disappointed. Nevertheless, don’t let anyone put a ceiling on what you can shoot for.

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