This summer, the Wildcat Athletics Council (WAC) will become The Wildcat Fund.
For years, the council has been UNH’s most visible vehicle for athletics fundraising, supporting all 20 men’s and women’s teams with vital scholarship funds and hosting athletics events that include the Athletics Hall of Fame and the Bill Knight ’66/“Bo” Dickson ’62 Memorial Golf Tournament.
“The Wildcat Athletics Council has served us extremely well over the years, particularly in bringing together our once-separate men’s and women’s volunteer-driven fundraising organizations,” says Athletics Director Marty Scarano. “The Wildcat Fund will further unify our annual fundraising efforts while still enabling donors to support the areas or programs where they are most passionate.”
The Wildcat Fund will bring together all of the Athletic Department’s annual fundraising efforts in a unified strategy, while still enabling donors to support individual areas or programs. Donors can support athletic scholarships for deserving student athletes as well as the athletic director’s priorities, enabling Scarano to allocate flexible dollars to the projects and initiatives where they are needed most.
Unlike its predecessor, The Wildcat Fund will also make it possible for alumni and friends to direct their gift support to a specific Friends group—an important source of operational funding for which coaches were previously solely responsible. Diane Metcalf, director of the athletics annual fund, emphasizes that The Wildcat Fund will complement—not replace—the efforts of the 15 Friends groups that currently support athletic programs at UNH.
“The Wildcat Fund will provide support and coordination for the important work that is already being done by coaches and volunteers,” she says. “We want to make it easier for alumni and friends to connect with the athletic programs that they cherish while enabling coaches to deepen existing relationships and forge new ones.”
Sean McDonnell ’78, head football coach, says that his Friends group, the Cat Club, will benefit from the change. “The Wildcat Fund will help us develop the Cat Club’s leadership and reach,” he says. “That’s very good for our program’s long-term success.”
The Wildcat Fund, major gifts, and capital projects together comprise Athletics Development, UNH’s reorganized athletics fundraising department. By adopting a model that mirrors the University’s overall fundraising efforts through University Advancement as well as athletics fundraising models used by other successful schools, Metcalf and Scarano hope UNH will achieve its own greater success. Metcalf says the goal is to increase the number of alumni and friends who support athletics and to more than double the current amount raised annually, to the $1 million level.
Even at that level, there still are worthy programs and individuals that athletics will not be able to support as fully as Scarano would like. He observes that UNH already does a remarkable job competing with—and very often prevailing over—programs that are far better funded than its own. “Division 1 athletics offer college students extraordinary experiences and lessons they can use in every aspect of their lives,” he says. “We’re incredibly grateful for the friends and alumni who play such an important role in shaping our student athletes successes not only for their time here, but also for their future.”
Men’s hockey head coach Dick Umile ’72 says that’s a message that isn’t lost on his athletes. “My job isn’t just about training athletes, it’s about preparing leaders,” he says. “Hockey may open a lot of doors for our players, but they’re doors that wouldn’t exist without the generosity and commitment of our loyal supporters.”
For more information on The Wildcat Fund, please contact Diane Metcalf, Director of the Athletic Annual Fund (603) 862-3149/ firstname.lastname@example.org
To make a secured gift online to the team or program of your choice, please go to: http://www.foundation.unh.edu/make-gift-1