Drive for 25 Update: Hokie Club Announces Record Donations for 2017-18

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Hokie Club Student-Athlete Performance Center
Projects like the planned Student-Athlete Performance Center have drawn record donations to Virginia Tech’s Hokie Club (concept design courtesy Virginia Tech Athletics)

Earlier this week, the Hokie Club, Virginia Tech’s athletic fundraising organization, announced that it collected $47.7 million in donations for the one-year giving cycle from April 2017 through March 2018. That amount shatters the old donation record of $33 million, set last year.

The increase was driven largely by one gift: a $15.2 million donation for a Student-Athlete Performance Center that will be constructed where the current Bowman Room exists in the Jamerson Center. Outside of that one large contribution, donations otherwise stayed level with the previous year, highlighted by a $1 million donation to support Virginia Tech’s football weight room expansion project.


Sponsored by the Hokie Club’s Drive for 25: The “Drive for 25” initiative seeks to increase membership in the Hokie Club to 25,000 members in order to provide student-athletes with scholarships for a Virginia Tech education, as well as the resources necessary to compete athletically at the highest levels. Click here to join us today!

There was good news regarding the Hokie Scholarship Fund, the subset of Hokie Club donations that are earmarked for athletic scholarships. Donations to the Hokie Scholarship Fund for the 2017-18 cycle were $16.8 million, an increase from the $16.2 million donated last year.

With Virginia Tech’s scholarship bill currently running between $14 million and $15 million per year, the $16.8 million represents a small surplus, meaning that the athletic department doesn’t have to pull funds from the operating budget to pay for scholarships. The university recently announced a 2.9 percent increase in tuition and fees for 2018-19, the third consecutive year of that same percentage increase. The 2.9 percent increase is the smallest at Virginia Tech since 2001-02, and if Hokie Scholarship Fund contributions stay strong, Virginia Tech will continue to be able to pay the scholarship bill solely using those funds.

The news wasn’t all good, however. As of April 4, 2018, the number of Hokie Club donors listed on the Drive for 25 tracking site was 12,830, a decrease from 13,170 donors reported a year ago, on April 5, 2017. The focus of the Drive for 25 effort is to increase Hokie Club membership to 25,000, so the decrease of 340 members from a year ago represents a step in the wrong direction.

Virginia Tech leadership is pleased with the overall numbers but would like to see more participation. In our recent interview with Director of Athletics Whit Babcock, he said of the fundraising efforts, “… we still do legitimately believe we can get to that 25,000 …. raising more money is always good, but I like the participation numbers too, and surely, we’ve got room for more.”

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8 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Should charge for spring game even if $5 or at least have some good looking coeds pass around donation boxes through the stands.

  2. A true test will be next year when people cannot deduct the money on taxes. I think that will cause a big hit.

    1. I read that the estimated cost by not allow a tax deduction will result in a loss to all universities of approximately $20B in donations. Next year will be a real test since this year figures also include those who took advantage of the pay ahead for next year by contributing before the end of 2017

  3. If you normalize the data by removing the one extremely high gift, the news is disappointing. Contributions would be down if the large, anomalous gift were excluded; and HC membership is down. Considering that VT sports are improving across the board, the decline is a little surprising.

    But I can appreciate how “regular fans” feel squeezed. I’m a Silver Hokie and, until a couple years ago, contributed $1,000 annually; plus the cost of my 4 season tickets. Then I got hit with a double whammy:
    1) VT implemented the per-seat minimum Scholarship Fund contributions, which upped my ante to $1,400.
    2) My employer used to match such contributions up to $400. They stopped matching athletic dept contributions.

    The net effect to me was an additional $800 out of pocket. I’m sucking it up but $800 is not insignificant for many of us. My point is that I think the scholarship fund minimums have driven some people out of the program.

    1. Many on the pay board thought the 33 was going to be our high water mark. Donations without the big gift were fairly consistent. That 33 was a huge jump from the previous year. Keeping us from getting left behind in the college football landscape.

  4. I wonder how much the VTAF got during the Hokie Giving day. That should be a portal to increasing participation

  5. Given that we have over 250,000 living alums and what a passionate fan base we have, it’s hard to believe we can only find 12,830 Hokie Club donors. I’m not saying they all have to be big money donors, but I’m sure some can give the minimum. Even that would help a lot.

  6. A 3.7% increase of donations on a 2.6% drop in membership. Average donation is higher per member, which is great, but we’re going to reach a point of diminishing returns and eventually a point of no return using that formula. So far, it looks as if Whit has done a great job of finding some big donors. How many more are out there because the Drive for 25 is floundering.

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