The athletic department fundraiser is coming to a close
The annual Giving Challenge fundraiser is coming to a close at midnight on March 1. The fundraiser runs through the entirety of February, and this year the fundraising goal was set at $40,000.
So, what is the Giving Challenge? Keene State Athletic Director Phil Racicot said, “The Giving Challenge is one of our major fundraising events each year, and helps us to advance championship caliber athletics by helping to fund operations and programmatic needs to help enhance the complete Owls athletic experience.”
He continued, “It’s also a great opportunity for each of our teams to connect with past donors, alumni and friends of the program in a variety of ways. Our teams always enjoy a challenge and it’s fun to see them have some friendly competition with the number of donors, percentage increases from previous years, and total dollars earned.”
The thing that sets this fundraiser apart from other fundraisers held by the department is where the funds end up. Racicot said, “While our other major efforts – Keene State College Chartwells Golf Classic and Athletics Annual Calendar Raffle – are geared to supplying team uniforms and gear, as well as some equipment needs and projects, the funds raised in the [Giving] Challenge are dedicated directly to each team.”
100 percent of the funds donated to each team go directly to them, and they are able to use those funds for whatever they see fit. Racicot continued, “The reality is that we must look to external donors to fund a portion of our operations, and this gives each team the opportunity to set goals for various needs in their programs. Teams have used these funds for batting cages, soccer goals, technology upgrades, specialized training equipment, team functions and events, and, in some cases, to offset the cost of travel. These funds can also carry over, so it’s possible for teams to set longer term goals as well.”
A large supporter of this annual fundraiser is Fenton Family Dealerships, a car dealership that operates in the city of Swanzey, New Hampshire. The athletic department said that the relationship they have with the dealership is of great value to them. Racicot said, “Their philanthropy is well known throughout the region, and their support of the Giving Challenge infuses the event with added incentives to earn additional dollars when they achieve benchmarks, such as highest numbers of donors and dollar amounts. It’s been a lot of fun to work with the dealership on promoting the event with videos, social media campaigns, and awarding a ceremonial big check to the winners!”
He continued, “In addition to providing prize money for the challenge, the dealership also contributes [Sustainable Product Design and Innovation] scholarship awards to Keene State, and is also helping to support an athletic department initiative to create a new Hall of Fame display as part of our partnership.”
A representative from the dealership, George Thompson III, said that the dealership’s relationship with the athletic department is important to their staff. “Athletics is very important for Keene State, and our region. By supporting the growth of the athletic department, we hope it will help bring more students to Keene State, which can impact our local community in a positive way,” Thompson said.
Specifically about why the dealership gets involved in this fundraiser, Thompson said, “The Giving Challenge is a great opportunity for student athletes to put in their time to benefit their teams! We feel it helps in building relationships with the athletes, coaches, and their network of family, friends, and peers.”
Thompson said that he hopes the athletic department and the individual teams will be able to surpass the amount donated to them last February, that amount being $53,105; the department had a goal of $30,000. Additionally, he hopes the dealership will maintain its relationship with the athletic department “for years to come”.
The athletic department reached 149 percent of their $40,000 goal, with $59,956 raised. 640 people donated, with the majority of them being Keene State alumni (39 percent). The men’s soccer team was given the most donations out of all sixteen teams receiving donations ($24,899).
The Equinox reached out to men’s basketball player senior Lyndon Prayer for a comment, but did not receive a response.
Piper Pavelich can be contacted