Boston in February may have been chilly, but the NIRSA family arrived at NIRSA 2019 with warm hearts, open minds, and generous spirits. The Annual Giving Campaign surrounding the Annual Conference is the NIRSA Foundation’s largest fundraising campaign of the year, and our inspiring members paid it forward in a big way. Their incredible generosity truly funded the revolution in the most successful Annual Giving Campaign to date.

When you donate…

Our NIRSA family surpassed our ambitious 2019 goal to raise $90,000 during the campaign with 385 donors contributing $91,198 through one-time donations and monthly giving commitments. Our hearts expand knowing that of those who gave, 101 were first-time donors to the NIRSA Foundation—more than a quarter of the total! Just five years ago, we were raising less than $34,000 during the Annual Giving Campaign; the campaign’s growth and success are due to the generosity and abundance of our truly-inspiring NIRSA family. Thank you to everyone who donated or participated in our fundraising activities!

As the NIRSA Foundation seeks to support NIRSA’s strategic initiatives, NIRSA members stepped up to our new General Fund Pledge Drive, a way to respond to the evolving challenges facing our members and campus rec as a whole. The first donors to join this pledge drive are our Founders Circle. To date, 18 Founders Circle members have pledged a total of $90,000 to the general fund over the next five years.

NIRSA students challenged their peers to “give to grow,” and their success was truly revolutionary. The 2018-2019 NIRSA Student Leadership Team brought their Give to Grow fundraising initiative to Boston, seeking to pay it forward and fund scholarships to NIRSA 2020. The hard work of the SLT raised enough money to send seven student members to Phoenix on scholarships next year. The NIRSA Foundation would like to thank the SLT for putting so much passion and heart into its fundraising and to thank Andy Lemons, RCRSP, who matched $1,000 of Give to Grow gifts.

Thank you also to donors who made matches at the LGBTQI Social for donations to the Frederick R. Braden Endowment and to donors who matched gifts made to the Jeff Vessely Heritage Fund. By the end of our Annual Giving Campaign, all of our heritage funds are fully funded which ensures that scholarships named after these beloved NIRSA members will be awarded in perpetuity.

When we left Boston, 33 new members enrolled in the Cornerstone Society monthly giving program. Overall, our 192 monthly donors create a sustainable funding stream by contributing more than $4,400 per month. The “Boston Ten Party,” a fundraising initiative directed at monthly giving for under-ten-year professionals, garnered gifts from 125 young pros.

Our Legacy Society continues to grow. With two new Legacy Society members during our Annual Giving Campaign, there are now 31 individuals and couples committed to ensuring a bright future for NIRSA and campus rec through planned giving.

…and when you participate…

NIRSA members ensured the success of our popular T-Shirt & Apparel Sale fundraiser; there were so many donations to the sale this year that we ran out of hangers to display all items at once! This event is made possible thanks to our NIRSA family’s donations of items for the sale. Thank you to everyone who dropped off their campus rec swag to support this fundraiser! Colorado State University won Best in Show in the T-Shirt Design Competition for their beautiful staff shirt. Congratulations to them and to the other winning shirts, which can be viewed on our Facebook page. Be sure to set your shirts and apparel items aside for the NIRSA 2020 sale and competition in Phoenix!

Sixty-nine people registered for the Mark Fletcher Urban Circuit. Thank you to everyone who woke up early to walk and workout with the NIRSA Foundation at this new, unique fundraising event that supports NIRSA’s strategic value of health and wellbeing. The Golf Tournament will return for NIRSA 2020.

By participating in our new digital giving board, our donors shared many moving messages about why they give back. More than 100 members noted they donate to “pay it forward,” and many shared custom messages about their “why.” Here are just a few of their wonderful quotes; we hope they’ll lift you up as much as they do us:

  • “For inclusive college rec opportunities for ALL people. #UnifiedGeneration” – Scott George
  • “To pay it forward! NIRSA is where I discovered myself, my wife, and my purpose. :)” – Chelsea Phipps
  • “I owe my career and, in many ways, my identity to NIRSA.” – John Lentz, CRSS
  • “The profession’s future depends on our investment today. Let’s model the way.” – Laurie Braden, CRSS
  • “Giving is what NIRSA is all about.” – Paul Wilson, CRSS
  • “To give students the opportunity to grow! Love giving back to an organization that has given me so much.” – Naomi Matley
  • “To challenge our future student leaders to build bridges of love instead of walls of hate.” – Andy Lemons, RCRSP

…you make a revolutionary impact on the NIRSA Family

The generosity of our donors allows the NIRSA Foundation to invest in the NIRSA family, providing resources and opportunities that support the Association and the campus rec profession.

The increasing number of scholarships your donations deliver has a huge impact on our members. Donations made in 2018 sent 67 NIRSA members to NIRSA 2019, The School, and Triventure on full-registration scholarships and covered another 36 registrations to preconference workshops. Your donations in 2019 will ensure that our scholarship program offers an increasing number of NIRSA members the ability to attend professional development events without shouldering registration fees.

Contributions to the area of greatest need and our four fields of interest do more than just send members to NIRSA’s premier professional development events.

When you donate or participate in our fundraising activities, you support professional development opportunities like the NIRSA Research Grant Program. In 2018, four projects were funded through this program. Research grant proposals for this year’s program may be submitted from May 1 to June 30, 2019. In addition to providing excellent opportunities for grant writing and research, the Research Grant Program contributes to the growing body of academic literature that illustrates the value of campus rec—literature like that published in the Recreational Sports Journal, which is produced by the NIRSA Foundation.

Your donations provided $65,000 of funding toward NIRSA research initiatives in 2018 through grants and resources for members like the Institutional Data Set (IDS) and Salary Census, which provide valuable benchmarking information for the profession. The IDS grants members access to relevant data about campus rec facilities, programs, and services. The Salary Census allows departments to evaluate the competitiveness of their salaries prior to posting job openings and ensures members make informed decisions about job offers.

You provide solutions to nationwide issues like the shortage of young officials from the community and local levels all the way up to elite levels of college and professional competition. Gifts made to the Student Officials Development Campaign supported training for 106 student officials in the 2017-2018 season and they provide a high level of evaluation and training to student officials at the annual NIRSA flag football and basketball championships by paying for lodging, meals, and on-site transportation for the student officials and their NIRSA volunteer evaluators.

Learn more

If you’re curious about cumulative giving levels and want to know which level you’re in following NIRSA 2019, check out the honor roll.

If you have questions about the NIRSA Foundation or want to hear what we’re excited about in the 2019-2020 Leadership Year, contact any NIRSA Foundation Board member or NIRSA Director of Philanthropy Kim Holmes.

The NIRSA Foundation Board of Directors governs the NIRSA Foundation.