Orange Krush gives 350K to charities

By Erin Foley

In a presentation at Illinois’ basketball media day on Friday, the Orange Krush Foundation presented a check for $350,000 to benefit over 37 charitable causes.

“These charitable causes range from the Rod Cardinal sports medicine fund to various other local charities that people applied to the Orange Krush foundation,” Orange Krush Foundation President, Chris Owens said. “We selected the various causes based on what we felt made the most sense.”

While the Orange Krush serves as the University of Illinois men’s basketball cheering section, it is also a charity organization which donates thousands of dollars each year to the University and community.

The Krush notably donated $90,000 to the Rod Cardinal Sports Medicine Fund, the third payment on its $300,000 commitment. The Fund, established two years ago, honors Rod Cardinal, the former men’s basketball athletic trainer for 30 years.

The greatest donation, though, came in the $120,000 given to the Louis and Dawn Weber Scholarship Enhancement Fund.

The Orange Krush elected to donate all of its money raised during the Minnesota Big Ten Tournament game to the end of the postseason to a charity of Coach Weber’s choice after the passing of his mother, Dawn. Weber created an endowment that will provide a scholarship each year for a future Illini basketball manager.

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve been fighting just to get the managers some kind of scholarship, because they do so much for so little, and this was a chance to do that,” he said at the opening of the basketball press conference. “We’re hoping with their help, we’ll get that endowed over the next couple years, and we’ll also go back to former managers and ask for their help. I think they’ll be more willing to be part of that, so we’re really pleased and appreciate what they do.”

Over the past six years, the Orange Krush has raised and donated over $600,000. Its record-setting 1,115 members last year, were able to donate such a great amount of money since the season extended to the Championship game and the team made 344 three-pointers. The Orange Krush is based on the three-point program in which students must solicit pledges from alumni, family or community members to join. The Foundation additionally raised $25,000 to the Mt. Lebanon Evangelical Lutheran Church, $10,000 to Relay for Life, $7,500 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, $7,000 to Lincolnland Ambucs and $6,750 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Champaign County, among others.