The University of Indianapolis athletic department announced on July 1, via the university’s athletic website, that an anonymous donor had stepped forward and provided the department with $250,000 towards a matching gift program called The Champions Challenge. The new program, currently in progress, accepts all new unrestricted donations of $25 or more and matches that donation towards the university’s athletics 2:1.
Assistant director of athletic development, Janel Bogenschutz, said that The Champions Challenge will be added on for the next year as another one of the different ways that UIndy will raise money to support its athletic programs.
“This [The Champions Challenge] is all for athletics,” she said. “So you have your UIndy fund and you have your Greyhound Club, which is another fund for athletics.”
According to Bogenschutz, her department already receives donations.
“We [at the athletic department] already have donors that give what we call ‘unrestricted’ [donations], which is any money that’s given to athletics [that] we can use for needs here on campus,” she said.
For those who provided a gift to the athletic department last year, a 2:1 match will be applied to their unrestricted donation to the department as well this year, as long as that unrestricted donation is at least $25 more than the previous gift. A 1:1 match also will be provided for any renewed unrestricted gift to the Greyhound Club.
Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Sue Willey said that the athletic department has “big ticket” items it is working to acquire, and she is hopeful that this large fund will help it take care of those items.
“If we are able to raise the $250,000, then we will be at $500,000 and will be able to do some of the larger things for some of the athletic facilities that are needed,” she said of the program’s potential significant impact.
Although she was unable to share exactly what “big ticket” items the department was working towards acquiring, Willey said some of the ideas that were being considered included a new floor for Nicoson Hall and new turf for Key Stadium.
According to Willey, one common misconception associated with the new program is that it is being used primarily for the newly added lacrosse teams. Willey, however, wanted to make clear that this is not the case, saying that the funding for the newly added sport “is totally out of the five-year plan [fund].”
As of this past week, the website where individuals can make donations showed that there has been a total of 122 supporters of the program since it was created a few months ago in July. Bogenschutz said that this was a great number of supporters thus far, considering that the athletic department had not yet fully promoted the upstart program to the public.
“My boss [Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development Matt Donovan] has been here for 21 years, and he has never had $250,000 put in his lap,” Bogenschutz said. “We have not really pushed it yet. We are in September now, and it started in July.”
Bogenschutz said that she is now in the process of starting the next steps.
“We have been working with the advancement office, and President [Robert] Manuel [said he] wants a few things done a certain way, which we completely agree [with],” she said. “So we had to wait for a letter to be sent on his behalf to non-donors of the Greyhound Club.”
As of last Thursday, according to the donation website, the program had raised $45,272, and it will continue to be open for donations another 279 days.