SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 12, 2016) With another Giving Challenge fast approaching that can mean only one thing: More than a dozen USF Sarasota-Manatee Student Ambassadors along with USF mascot Rocky will soon fan out across Sarasota and Manatee counties to rally support from alumni and others.
The annual challenge is one of USFSM’s premier fundraising events and each fall USFSM joins dozens of local charitable organizations in staging the 24-hour fundraising blitz.
Last year’s challenge raised more than $7 million for the nonprofit groups and $11,000 for the campus, but that amount escalated to $45,800 because of generous matching grants from The Patterson Foundation, the Florida First Generation Matching Grant Program and USFSM. Proceeds benefited scholarship applicants including “first-generation” applicants who were the first in their families to attend college.
For this year’s Giving Challenge, scheduled Sept. 20-21 from noon to noon, campus leaders plan to direct proceeds toward a proposed women’s rowing team. The NCAA recently approved USF Athletics’ application to establish a competitive rowing team for women at USFSM and the campus has recently formed an advisory committee to support that effort.
Having an NCAA team hosted in this community will bring more attention and prestige to the USFSM campus, which can only help as it looks to build enrollment and academic programs and enhance its partnerships with community organizations. But getting that effort off the ground requires fundraising support, which is why this year’s Giving Challenge effort focuses on supporting the new team.
It’s hoped the challenge’s proceeds provide a healthy kick-start to the team’s overall fundraising goals. To generate excitement, a dozen Student Ambassadors along with mascot Rocky have agreed to fan out across the region to visit alumni and other donors to seek support.
Additionally, the Ambassadors have agreed to man a 24-hour Giving Challenge “war room” at the campus where personal greetings and thank-you messages will be relayed to contributors through social media.