University athletic department changes donation dates

By Charlotte Carroll

The I FUND has changed its donation program deadlines, going from three renewal dates to just one a year.

In the past years, the Illinois athletics’ fundraising arm had deadlines in April, August and December which coincided with season ticket campaigns. This year, however, the program is trying something new: using only one deadline in April.

The I FUND, or annual donations as the university calls them, is the University’s campaign to raise “financial resources which provide scholarship, academic and athletic opportunities for all student-athletes as they prepare to be leaders,” according to the website.

From July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, Illinois athletics (DIA) collected $26,425,622 in total donations. This year from July 1 to October 12, the department has only collected $3,993,549.

Dividing the year into quarters, the DIA would be short around $2.5 million compared to last year if the donations stayed on the pace they’re on right now.

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    However, Illinois’ staff is not worried.

    “It’s hard to put a number on that until the end of the year,” said Associate Director of Athletics Kent Brown. “Part of that is we’ve changed to once a year donation deadline so there’s a switch in procedures that will change the timing of a lot of donations.”

    Brown said a true look at the numbers won’t come until May or June, or close to the end of the fiscal year.

    The reason for the change? Brown said it’s a simplified process and less confusing for donors. He added that many schools around the nation have just one renewal date also.

    The athletic department has been surrounded by controversy this year with various lawsuits and investigations into certain teams. But Brown said that though some donors may be waiting to see how the situations play out, there’s been no indication that that it has been a real issue with the annual fund.

    “It’s really business as usual,” Brown said.

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