In July of 2010, we embarked on the Wake Will campaign with a goal of raising $95 million by June of 2018. As we contemplated our goal, we identified a number of capital projects critical to the success of our Athletic Department, an endowment goal of $10 million and an Annual Fund that needed to be jumpstarted.
In 2010 we were just emerging from recession but there was still tremendous uncertainty with our economy. Wake Foresters responded in those uncertain times by supporting our Athletic Department in unprecedented fashion. To date, we have now raised a jaw-dropping $202 million. What an unbelievable accomplishment!
One of our most supportive donor groups has been our former-student athletes, with 22% contributing an incredible $78 million, providing endless opportunities as well as a wonderful example for the next generation of student-athletes.
In addition, our donors have been supportive at every level. With almost 15,000 total donors, there have been 30 commitments of $1 million or more and an astounding 40,000 commitments of $1,000 or less.
So, where do we go from here? We have asked ourselves that question and have made the decision to keep on pushing. We have a lot more to do and are just now starting to realize the benefits of a successful campaign. The wins and championships are happening. We have greatly enhanced the experience for each one of our student-athletes by adding new services, like the full-time Athletic Department nutritionist, and providing new state-of-the-art facilities. With the campaign now extended through 2020, we look forward to providing even more critical resources to our coaches and student-athletes.
As we contemplate our new goal and remaining initiatives, we know that we will focus on student-athletes first which means increased emphasis on our Annual Fund and endowment. In addition, we have a very exciting Coliseum transformation that has our full attention. Furthermore, there are additional facility needs for baseball and tennis as well as other operational funding needs for nutrition and sports science, which will dramatically impact student-athlete training and performance.
The combined efforts of our donors during the Wake Will and now Wake Will Lead campaigns has been truly inspiring for our Athletic Department and particularly our coaches and student-athletes. We are now not only catching up, but surpassing our competition in a number of areas. On behalf of the Athletic Department, we cannot thank you enough and be sure to stay tuned as we have a lot more to accomplish!
(Note: This article was originally published in the March 2017 issue of Gold Rush.)