UMass Athletics Announces $33 Million Fundraising Campaign
Feb. 9, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts Director of Athletics John McCutcheon has announced the kick-off of a major $33 million fundraising campaign aimed at enhancing capital, scholarship, endowment and sport specific goals over the next six years. As part of the campaign, the Athletic Department has also announced the renaming and re-organization of the annual fund for student-athlete scholarship support to The Minutemen Club in an effort to bolster and reflect UMass' commitment to success.
"The fundraising campaign and re-organization of the annual fund represent the next level of department initiatives which aim at leaving a lasting legacy of success for future generations of UMass student-athletes," said McCutcheon. "The last several years have seen marked improvement at nearly all of our facilities and an increase in support for our students. The new campaign will ensure that UMass is well positioned to continue our competitiveness in all areas of collegiate athletics."
Only 18 months into the campaign planned to conclude in 2015, UMass has raised $13.7 million thanks in part to the largest gift to the Athletics Department and one of the largest in the history of the campus. The anonymous lead gift of $10 million was given to support the Champions Center - a new basketball facility for the men's and women's programs which is one of the highlights of UMass' major facility projects.
"We are deeply appreciative of the historic gift to the funding of the Champions Center," said McCutcheon. "That tremendous support will go towards a project that will have a long-term impact on our basketball programs and their success."
The campaign will also benefit the new football operations center and a new press box for McGuirk Alumni Stadium as part of the Minutemen's transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision and membership in the Mid-American Conference which officially begins in Fall 2012.
In an effort to recognize the overall mission of the Athletic Department, the re-branding of the annual fund to The Minutemen Club with the message of "21 Sports - One Team" aims at creating a more effective and dynamic fundraising program.
"We wanted to find a way to emphasize who we are as an Athletic Department while at the same time finding ways to help individual booster groups in their efforts to assist specific sport programs," said Rocko DeLuca, Associate Athletic Director for Development. "To reach our goals we need to attract new members, and we feel that the name "Minutemen Club" is something that every UMass fan can identify with. Along with this name change we will look at unveiling a new donor ranking system and benefits structure. This will be designed to provide greater incentives for annual membership in the Minutemen Club and season ticket purchases."
Funds raised through The Minutemen Club support the academic related expenses of 700 student-athletes in all 21 sport programs. In the first six months of this fiscal year, donations to the Athletic Department are up 147% with over 300 new donors joining the Minutemen Club in 2011 - not including the anonymous $10 million gift.
That growth has been fueled in part by the upgrade in the football program to the FBS level and the MAC conference which is evident in a 114% increase in donations for football and a major gift of $500,000 in December.
The Minutemen Club also aims to assist in greater detail the 16 sport-specific booster programs such as the Court Club, the Pond Club and Lax Backers. Members in those booster groups will also receive membership in The Minutemen Club.
Membership in The Minutemen Club begins at just $25 a year. Monthly payment plans and online donations are also accepted. A new web site for The Minutemen Club will be launched in the near future at www.TheMinutemenClub.com which will contain all the information and benefits for donors to the Athletic Department. For more information on The Minutemen Club or to make a gift, contact Rocko DeLuca at 413-545-4290.
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