Tiffany Harmon pounded the pavement as an elementary school student, selling cookies, candy, and raffle tickets to raise money for her school’s extracurricular programs. She diligently rang doorbells and set up stands. She worked hard to win her school’s top-seller prize, but a fellow student always won. His dad would buy all the cookies.
One year, Harmon’s mother felt so badly for her that she bought all the peanut brickle. Harmon won a tape deck recorder. She thought she would be excited—but all she saw was a super expensive recorder.
“It just didn’t feel as rewarding having it handed to me,” she says. “I learned an important lesson about the value of hard work and the sense of accomplishment it provides.”
Harmon has been working hard, raising funds, and giving back since she was a child.
“It’s in my soul, I’m a humanitarian at heart,” Harmon says. “Whether it’s volunteering, listening, networking, donating money—I want to help people and make a difference.”
Harmon’s recent bequest to UC Santa Cruz’s KZSC radio station illustrates a passion for contributing to causes that are important to her.
Harmon came to UC Santa Cruz as a transfer student. Her path to the university took some time so she was 25 when she arrived on campus. She didn’t know a soul—she didn’t live in the dorms and was living by herself. She felt lonely and out of place. She knew she needed to make friends and create a community for herself.
She decided to take an Intro to Broadcasting course with the goal of meeting people and also to get a peek into her father’s world. Harmon’s father, William Wintersole, was an actor and radio personality.
She found her passion—and her people—at KZSC.
“I met the most incredible people. Some of whom are stellar, stellar friends today, we’ve been friends now for a long time. That’s how I pulled myself out of depression. I am a social animal, we are social animals, and I needed to get some friends. I did that. The radio station helped me do that.”
Harmon started working as a DJ on Saturday nights, and her show gained popularity. She’s been a DJ at KZSC ever since—her show has been running for more than 26 years. Her current show “Joy in the Morning” runs from 9AM to 12PM on Thursdays.
Harmon credits the radio station for helping her develop a strong sense of community in Santa Cruz where she built a successful business, the Seahorse Swim School, teaching thousands of local children to swim. She counts a number of community leaders and business owners as listeners and friends.
She loves the unique character of the radio station and the opportunities it provides for herself and others.
“The beauty of KZSC - there’s no judgment, it’s a full cornucopia of people,” she says. Pink hair, purple hair, polka dots. Nose piercings, no piercings. Gay, straight, they/them, not sure what gender you are. It’s all good—we’re all mixed up in a pot. And we’re all here to shine. It’s beautiful.”
Harmon has been raising money for the student-run, community radio station through fundraising drives, herself giving in amounts related to the station’s numbers—88.1FM—for years.
“When I give to the station, I like to do it for amounts like $88.10 or $881.0” she says.
She feels so strongly about supporting the station that she has included KZSC in her estate plans with a bequest of $8,810.
She’s also thinking about future gifts to the radio station, and what those amounts might look like.
“Giving to all the things that have given to me is what I want to do,” Harmon says. “I want to leave a legacy, be well known for making a difference. A legacy lasts forever, and serves more than yourself.”
Learn more about planned giving at the UC Santa Cruz Planned Gifts site.