A record year!
This was a record year for the NIRSA Foundation, which began NIRSA 2016 with a lofty goal of raising $78,150. Thanks to the dedicated support of NIRSA members, the Foundation was able to reach this goal! It also reached its goal of seeing 500+ individual donors contribute during the conference!
Just three conferences and two calendar years ago, the Annual Conference giving campaign raised $28,000 through 171 donors. Since then, we have nearly tripled both the amount of giving and the number of contributors as part of a new strategy to create a culture of giving. To give donors more discretion about how their donation dollars are used, the Foundation has recently introduced four fields of interest with the aim of dedicating support for NIRSA members through scholarships, research, leadership development, and student officials’ development.
So what will the NIRSA Foundation do with your contributions? The philanthropic arm of NIRSA aims to increase the number of scholarships it awards by six to ten each year until we reach 80 student and 40 professional scholarships. In addition, we want to double the amount of dollars we currently allocate to research initiatives and hope to underwrite another high-level professional development opportunity similar to the NIRSA School of Collegiate Recreation. And, finally, we will support the student official’s development program that occurs at the NIRSA national flag football and basketball championships.
The NIRSA Foundation Board is very excited about the outstanding engagement by our members, its potential to support the next generation of members, and the potential for advancing the profession.
At the 2016 Annual Conference, the Foundation table saw lots of activity from members who purchased T-shirts and quilt raffle tickets, registered for the Mark Fletcher Fun Run/Walk, donated T-shirts for the T-shirt Competition, and made generous contributions to the Foundation. Professional members had to give a minimum of $120 to be recognized on the giving board. In the anticipation that the Foundation would reach their participation goal of 500 contributors, two giving boards were created. By day two, the icons began to appear on the overflow giving board!
This year’s quilt was handcrafted and sewn by none other than Mama Lee Wasson. While the final numbers of dollars raised is still being calculated, it is projected that the quilt raffle raised just over $2,500 for the future of collegiate recreation.
The 22nd Annual Golf Tournament celebrated a number of firsts. Among the most notable were the record-breaking number of corporate sponsors, and the first time this tournament exceeded 200 participants, with approximately 220 individuals teeing off at the Disney Palm and Disney Magnolia golf courses. Students, professionals, associate members, and exhibitors took to the courses on a perfectly-temperate day in anticipation of some good light-hearted competition, good food, and some amazing sunshine! The Foundation would like to take this opportunity to thank its partners, volunteers, and staff for executing a magical and successful tournament!
The champions from the top three golf teams were Sea Couillar, Ben Stark of Woodway, Andy Milton of Saint Ambrose University, Trent Morgan of California State University-San Bernardino, Chris Hutton of BSN Sports, Dave Tippett of Middle Tennessee State University, Chuck Vogt of BSN Sports, Eric Westerman of BSN Sports, and Chris Nelms, Courtney Spicer, Brion Rittenberry of Mondo, and Dan Kehoe. Congratulations!
On the last day of the conference, more than 145 students and professionals braved the cool morning at 6:30am for the Mark Fletcher Fun Run/Walk. Thank you to sponsors, volunteers, and staff for helping our sprinters cross the finish line. Our first three winners were Alex Accetta of Portland State University, Becky Parks of American University, and Bernardo Tapia of Stanford University with times of 19:35, 19:35, and 19:55 respectively. Building on the tradition started last year, the course sweepers carried Mick Deluca—this year’s Honor Award recipient, as well as longtime supporter of the NIRSA Foundation and mentee of the late Mark Fletcher—across the finish line.