FEATURE | Posted Jan. 8, 2015

Our gift: Joyce Raley-Teel and Jim Teel

Renowned Sacramento philanthropist supports autism services at UC Davis MIND Institute

Chancellor Katehi and Teel
From left to right: Laurie Struck, Vice Chancellor and Dean Julie Freischlag, Mrs. Joyce Raley-Teel, Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, Mr. Jim Teel, Mr. Michael Teel, Chief Executive Office, Raley's Family of Fine Foods, MIND Director Leonard Abbeduto.

Joyce Raley-Teel and Jim Teel, co-chairs of the Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, are well known for their concern for the welfare of children and families in the Sacramento region and beyond. So it was not a surprise when the couple, who are legendary for their warmth and generosity, extended their concern to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder.

Where better to make a difference in those children’s lives than at the MIND Institute, through its highly regarded social skills program, led by Marjorie Solomon, associate professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Solomon said that the Teel’s gift was the fountainhead that nearly doubled the number of young people whom she can help. And more advances lie ahead because of the gift, Solomon said.

Marjorie Solomon © UC Regents“Joyce and Jim really inspire me because of their philanthropy and love of helping people, and because, in spite of their incredible means and stature, they are warm, caring and down-to-earth people.”
— Marjorie Solomon

“We have been able to expand into a much larger program, and that has been really wonderful,” she said. “Their generosity has been the stepping stone that has allowed us to improve our staff training, so that we can include kids who aren’t as high-functioning. And their gift was the spark for a new social skills group for adults” that will begin early in 2015.

“Joyce and Jim really inspire me because of their philanthropy and love of helping people, and because, in spite of their incredible means and stature, they are warm, caring and down-to-earth people,” Solomon said.

The Teels recently attended a reception in their honor at the UC Davis MIND Institute, to celebrate the naming of the Joyce and Jim Teel Executive Board Room, a gift of the Thomas P. Raley Foundation. They were joined at the event by more than 20 members of their family.

In attendance were Linda P.B. Katehi, UC Davis chancellor; Julie Freischlag, vice chancellor for Human Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis; Shaun Keister, UC Davis vice chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations; Chong Porter, associate vice chancellor of Health Sciences Development and Alumni Relations; and Leonard Abbeduto, MIND Institute director.

“My granddaughter, Brooke Davidson, is pursuing a career in the autism spectrum disorder field and had a wonderful experience working at the MIND Institute with Dr. Marjorie Solomon. Our family supports research and treatment for this worthy cause and hopes a cure one day will be found,” Mrs. Teel said.

Learn more about the UC Davis MIND Institute

“The MIND Institute was created by families to provide help and hope to families affected by autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders,” Abbeduto said. “The gift from the Teels is particularly fitting, given their longstanding commitment to the welfare of Sacramento area families. We are especially pleased that they have chosen to give to the social skills program, which is a signature program for us, and one that we have long wanted to grow and make available to even more families in need. The Teel gift allows us to do that.”

The Raley’s Family of Fine Foods operates more than 120 stores in California and Nevada, including the Raley’s, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source stores. The business was started by Thomas Raley, who opened the first store in Placerville in 1935. Today the Teel’s son, Michael, serves as chief executive officer. With Raley’s chief executive officer emeritus Charles Collings, the Teels established Food For Families, a non-profit organization that provides food for the needy that has helped raise over $31 million and donated over 21 million pounds of food to fight hunger.