Alumni association still falls behind other schools
The Maroon Club, an organization that raises funds to support Lafayette Athletics, raised a record-breaking $1,761,357 in the 2014-2015 year, surpassing all fundraising amounts in Maroon Club history, as well as the club’s goal amount of $1.4 million.
This beats 2013-2014 figures by more than 44 percent. These funds were distributed to sports-specific funds, the Maroon Club General Fund and current-use scholarships.
Executive Director of the Maroon Club Joe Giaimo said the success to an effort to bring on new donors. In the year, there were 2,175 new donors to the Maroon Club General Fund. This exceeds the 1,832 donors to the fund in the 2013-2014 year. The success is also due to increasing donations from loyal supporters.
In addition, the 150th Anniversary of Lafayette-Lehigh game held at Yankee Stadium and the men’s basketball team’s Patriot League Championship and NCAA playoff game attracted alumni and fans to support or increase their support of the Leopards.
The director also credits the efforts of the coaches to reach their fundraising goals and those who continued to work hard to fundraise until the end of the fiscal year, even when it was clear they had met their goal in May.
“[We left] no stone unturned,” Giaimo said.
Giaimo expects that this increase, though somewhat used to offset inflation, will result in the greater retention of assistant coaches and in the continued recruitment of top student-athletes from domestically and abroad.
The college itself provides for head coach salaries, scholarships and facilities. This accounts for two-thirds of the athletic budget, leaving the remaining third for the Maroon Club to fund.
Maroon Club donations are largely used to create a “first-class athletic experience” for student-athletes. This includes travel accommodations, apparel, field equipment and video technologies. These features not only improve the experience of the student-athlete at Lafayette, but foster success both on the playing field and in the classroom.
Although a milestone for Lafayette, this fundraising amount still leaves the Leopards at fourth in the Patriot League in contributions. Some Patriot League institutions bring in over $2 million. Typical of the athletic department’s championship mindset, Lafayette’s long-term goal is to raise $2 million annually.
But what does this support mean to Lafayette?
There are five pieces to running a strong athletic department, according to Giaimo.
They include first-class facilities, a great coaching and administrative staff, a strong athletic training staff, top strength coaches and resources. The Maroon Club is responsible for providing for these additional resources, and their success helps to give the Leopards a competitive edge.
Just as an athletics match is won at the margins, by an inch, by a second, or by a last second touch on the ball, the ability for the athletics department to be successful is often made possible by a number of small efforts like these. By countless donors, fundraising events and campaigns.
Their efforts, however, we see are far from small.
By this point, many returning athletes have witnessed one of the products of the Maroon Club’s hard work. The Maroon Club Strength Center, home to a number of teams on campus, was refurbished over the summer. In addition to improvements and replacements of equipment, the floors were resurfaced, and the layout rearranged to provide a better area for athletes to train.
This is just one highlight of the many improvements, features and accommodations that are ultimately made possible by the fundraising efforts of the Maroon Club.
After an exciting year for Lafayette Athletics, the Maroon Club was able to add to the excitement and athletic experience for the many student-athletes they support on College Hill.