Athletic department launches fundraising campaign amid COVID-19 pandemic

Media Credit: File Photo by Arielle Bader | Staff Photographer

The athletic department is hoping to raise $100,000 by mid-October.

Updated: Thursday, Oct. 8 at 2:07 p.m.

The athletic department launched a fundraising campaign Monday to help mitigate the financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative, dubbed Together We Raise Higher, aims to raise $100,000 by Oct. 12. As of Wednesday, the campaign has raised nearly $29,000.

“We’re committed to giving our student-athletes the resources they need to be successful in competition and in the classroom,” Executive Director of Development for Athletics Jennifer Montgomery said in an email. “Fundraising is imperative to properly support our student-athletes.”

Donations ranging from $25 to $500 can provide a daily customized nutrition plan for student-athletes, monthly programming for the Leadership Development and Career Preparation program, a yearly subscription to the Calm app and recovery equipment, according to the fundraising website.

As of Wednesday, 94 donors participated in the campaign. Alumni, parents and faculty or staff are the three largest categories of donors, representing 60 percent, 21 percent and 19 percent, respectively, of all donations. Donors from 20 different states have participated.

Montgomery said officials shifted efforts to the fundraising campaign after the Buff & Blue Challenge was postponed from the spring. Last year’s challenge raised about $166,000, more than double the amount from 2015.

She said a “number of factors,” primarily giving history, helped determine the $100,000 goal and individual team goals. Montgomery added that officials are using an email campaign, social media, phone calls and word-of-mouth to connect with potential donors.

Eighteen programs – gymnastics, lacrosse, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, women’s rowing, men’s and women’s soccer, golf, men’s and women’s cross country and track, women’s tennis, volleyball, the spirit programs and men’s water polo – have individual fundraising goals ranging from $1,000 to $20,000.

As of publication, gymnastics raised $11,225 – the most money of any program so far.

In a past interview, Vogel said athletic department employees did not need to take pay reductions as a result of the pandemic, but she and other administrators took a pay cut. She added that “some” employees were let go and operating and administrative budgets were shrunk in light of the pandemic.

Editor’s note: This post was updated to include comment from athletic department officials. 

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