Archive for the ‘Major Gifts’ Category



A picture of the outside of the Joe Craft Center on the campus at the University of Kentucky.

The University of Kentucky has recently announced that they will be building a new building to house their basketball team. The team has spent the past 31 years living in Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge, located across the street from Memorial Coliseum and the new Craft Center.

The Difference Makers, a committed group of UK supporters, donated the money for the new Lodge. Joe Craft, who supplied the $6 million to name the new basketball facility, heads the group and spurred the initiative. The new housing is to be named the Wildcat Coal Lodge to honor the unique tie Kentucky has to the coal industry and its importance in the state’s economy.

There are a couple of unique points in this story. For one, Joe Craft, along with his group of supporters, is once again supplying the school with a large donation to support the basketball program. The repeat donation is a testament to the stewardship practices at the University where the donor still felt connected to the school; even after his naming gift for the new practice facility was made. Additionally, the department was able to leverage their good relationship with Craft to find a group of committed donors willing to further support the program.


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cincinnatiThe University of Cincinnati is currently amidst a large, university-wide capital campaign that will benefit many departments, including athletics. For the Bearcats, the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex is sitting front and center to all donors wishing to support the Athletics Department. The complex, which will consist of two fields, one 100 yards in length and the other being 50 yards, will support the football and women’s lacrosse programs, among others. As planned, the facility will get an inflatable “bubble” each winter to allow for indoor practices in the chilly Cincinnati weather.

What was unexpected, however, is a recent set of events that kept the facility campaign on track and at the forefront of donor minds. In late September, Bearcat supporter Larry Sheakley, the CEO of the Sheakley Group, initiated a $1 million matching gift challenge to support the campaign. In impressive fashion, the UC support system was able to match Mr. Sheakley’s gift in just two short weeks.

This display of fundraising brings an interesting strategy into light. Instead of merely accepting  a large gift from a donor such as Mr. Sheakley, why shouldn’t other universities propose the gift “challenge” with their top-tier supporters. Not only does a challenge such as this receive media attention, it can also re-invigorate a capital funds drive.

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An outside the stadium shot featured on www.newkenan.com.

An outside the stadium shot featured on http://www.newkenan.com.

The University of North Carolina‘s Athletics Department has recently launched a website dedicated to the explanation of their football stadium renovation. This site joins a growing trend in college athletics of schools using a website to inform the public of the project, give great visual examples, and grow awareness of the avenues for support.

The site, www.newkenan.com, serves as a valuable tool for educating donors on the processes that will change with the addition of the site. The site features some exciting video of the football team, a sweeping shot of the stadium designed to make viewers feel as if they are on the field, and a whole space dedicated to donor support.

The new stadium will feature premium seating, suites, and club/loge seating. If a donor is intrigued by the offers, they can fill out and mail in a Letter of Intent for priority consideration for the new premium seating options.

Yet the East End Zone Structure will not only house premium seating, but also a Student-Athlete Center for Excellence. This structure will house additional academic housing, an Olympic sports weight center, and a center for leadership training. By adding these features, the new building will not only help generate revenue, but also aid the student-athletes of the school.

There are many other websites promoting their projects. Examples include the new Knight Arena at Oregon, the Gridiron Club at Kansas, and the Memorial Stadium Renovation at Cal.

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Bob Stoops, football head coach at the Univers...

Bob Stoops recently made a six-figure gift to the Price College of Business.

On the heels of their recent tennis facility dedication, the Oklahoma Sooners announced that Bob Stoops is giving $150,000 to the Price College of Business. The donation will go towards allowing junior faculty members the opportunity to continue their research and teach at the undergraduate level.

This move, which obviously supports the college of business, furthers the goodwill Oklahoma has created with the academic areas of campus. Earlier this year, ADF wrote about Oklahoma’s $7 million dollar donation back to the general university.

Tennessee Athletics donated $10.35 million back to the school.

Tennessee Athletics donated $10.35 million back to the school.

This continues to be a growing trend in college athletics. Kansas has recently approved the construction of the Gridiron Club, which was passed with a substantial donation back to the general University. Tennessee, who gave $10.35 million, and Florida, who gave $6 million, have given surplus dollars back campus in addition to many others.

Moves like these build goodwill with key constituents across campus and helps cool the anti-athletics talk at many schools. If athletics departments can continue to give back to the campus, it makes it more difficult for critics to discourage the construction of facilities and high coaches salaries as the value provided through athletics to the university enriches the entire institution.

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259060.jpegThe Chancellor of KU and Kansas Athletics has submitted to the University Board of Regents for an expansion of their football stadium. The proposal seeks to add 3,000 seats on the east side of Memorial Stadium.

On the surface, this may look like a traditional announcement to expand a stadium. However, the athletics department is pledging $40 million dollars to university academics, to be dispersed at the Chancellor’s discretion. The construction of the new seats would compliment existing seats and cost around $34 million. In total, the project would cost the Athletics Department $74 million, money to be raised from revenue generated by the sales of the seats.

This proposal is groundbreaking in its commitment to the academic side of the university. In donating more money back to the university than it would cost to construct the building, the Athletics Department is showing its resolve to mesh athletics and academics. The move also enhances the chance of the stadium expansion to be approved, as the project will benefit the entire university, not just the student-athletes.

In conclusion, this commitment could change the way athletics departments around the nation approach facility construction and expansion. By guaranteeing the entire university revenue from the project, the addition is increasingly more likely to be approved.

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Mississippi State University Mississippi State Logorecently announced their receipt of a $2 million gift to aid in the construction of a new practice facility for the men’s and women’s basketball program. The gift comes from a major supporter of the university, both academically and athletically.

Richard Adkerson has been a long time supporter of the school, having graduated from the school of accountancy and received his MBA. Previously, Adkerson had made a major gift to the College of Business and chaired the MSU Foudation Board of Directors for a 7 year campaign.

Adkerson is a good example of donors from around the country who support athletics. Often times they are also donors on the other side of campus as well. Teamwork with the school’s central foundation is critical in asking for a major gift and MSU has leveraged their already existing relationships with Adkerson to jump-start their practice facility.

MSU will now begin the stewardship process with Adkerson, allowing him access to the facility and helping him see the impact his generosity is having on the sport programs.

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BGSU is set to break ground on the Stroh Center.

BGSU is set to break ground on the Stroh Center.

Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green has just set the date of their groundbreaking ceremony of their new basketball arena, The Stroh Center, to be on September 3, 2009. The facility will house both men’s and women’s basketball as well as the volleyball program. The building is named after a donor who provided $8 million to the facility, the largest gift in BGSU history. The building is set to open in two years. For more information, click here.

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University is currently in the process of turning their old baseball stadium into a new facility for the men’s and women’s golf teams. The site will feature target areas, practice greens and hitting bays. The second phase of the project is set to include a building to house coaches’ offices, an indoor putting green and locker rooms. Check out photos here.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is currently finishing the first phase of its new athletics village complex, which is set to include a multi-purpose basketball arena along with renovations to the hockey field house. The entire project cost $114 million and is funded through state and private donations. The school, which competes in the NCAA Division III, is hoping these new facilities will be the nicest not only in their conference, but also the nation. For renderings and more information, click here.

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