As I look back on the 2015-16 giving year – and really the past three years – I think of only one word: Momentum. Thanks to the generosity of Deacon Club members like you, we are seeing a building boom unlike anything Wake Forest Athletics has ever witnessed. You are truly helping us transform the future of Wake Forest Athletics.
Your generosity contributed to over $25 million in new commitments this past year and has led to over $115 million over the past three years. Armed with an original $95 million goal at the launch of the Wake Will campaign, athletics donors have donated over $167 million since 2010, the results of which continue to show in the creation of new scholarships and the ongoing facility enhancements seen in every athletic program. As we continue to find areas to invest to compete at the highest levels, our donors have continued to show that Wake Forest Athletics is a priority by continuously helping fund these new initiatives.
Over the past year alone, athletics saw over $9.1 million in gifts and $13.3 million in pledges toward capital projects. These commitments have directly allowed us to complete McCreary Field House, Haddock House, Kentner Stadium turf and track resurfacing, and the renovations to the Doc Martin Football Practice Fields. We have also recently broken ground for tennis’ Southern Family Court Seating and baseball’s enhancements to David F. Couch Ballpark, all while making significant progress toward completing the funding for the game-changing new Sports Performance Center. Momentum.
This surge in momentum isn’t limited to just capital projects. After averaging 26% of donors participating in the 110% Campaign over the previous six years, 32.7% of you chose to increase your Annual Fund gift by at least 10% this past year. Not only did Deacon Club members upgrade their giving, but more than 100 volunteers worked to grow the Deacon Club base by referring over 1,150 referrals to join the Deacon Club, resulting in over 400 new members. In total, the $12.8 million contributed toward the Annual Fund over the past two years is the highest total in consecutive years since 2010-11.
The Annual Fund total will be augmented by the awarding of two new endowed scholarships which reached the $100,000 threshold. These new endowed scholarships helped lead to an endowment payout of $1.4 (final number to be included) million, generating a total of $7.7 (final number to be included) million funded for student-athlete scholarships this year. As Wake Forest Athletics continues to strive to grow the academic, strength and conditioning and sports medicine resources available to our student-athletes and coaches, it remains critical that we fund our annual scholarship budget to allow our Athletic Department budget to focus on improving the lives of our student-athletes.
In all, the future looks bright at Wake Forest, and it is bright directly as a result of your investment in our future. Coaches and student-athletes years from now will continue to benefit from the generosity of our donors today. We could not be riding this wave of momentum or setting up the next generation of success without our incredibly supportive donor base. Please take this to be the most appreciative and sincere thank you I can put on paper, for you are truly creating something special here. I look forward to the opportunity to show off many of these enhancements if you are on campus this fall, and look forward to an exciting 2016-17 athletic season.
(Note: This article was originally published in the August/September 2016 issue of Gold Rush.)