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.”