You Danced, She Donated

Having heard horror stories about personal protective equipment shortages from her brother, Richard Zapanta, who works in an ER, lawyer Gina Zapanta hosted a virtual dance ‘FUN’raiser party, but she didn’t ask for any money. For every click someone made to view the party, she would match it with a $1 donation of her own money. The tagline: You dance, we donate.

I thought we might get 300 people,” Gina said. “With less than 48 hours of promotion, we got more than 10,000 clicks. It was incredible.”

Gina used the funds to buy meals from restaurants near local hospitals, so her donation helped both local restaurants and hospitals. She donated almost 1,000 meals to Keck Hospital of USC and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, and in less than a month, $50,000 worth of meals to 20 hospitals in Los Angeles, New York and Louisiana.

“USC is near and dear, always,” Gina said. “We have a deep history there.”

Gina’s father, Richard Zapanta, was an orthopedic surgeon and senior partner at Eastside Orthopedic Medical Associates and Plaza Surgical Center. He passed away in 2019, leaving behind a legacy of support for his community, alma mater and the Keck School of Medicine. Dr. Zapanta was born and raised in East Los Angeles. He was a founder of the USC Latino Alumni Association (formerly the USC Mexican American Alumni Association) and also helped found the Latino Alumni Recruitment Scholarship at the Keck School. His brother, Dr. Ed Zapanta, was the first Latino member of the USC Board of Trustees and also a founding member of the USC Latino Alumni Association.

By nature, caregivers are selfless people who help the most vulnerable in society, even before COVID-19,” Gina said. “Now they have to work in a time when they are exposing themselves to contamination. Thank you is inadequate. There are no words.”

You Danced, She Donated

Above: Gina and her father, Dr. Richard Zapanta

You Danced, She Donated

Gina and her daughters