The R B1G Build Campaign. Rutgers’ effort to upgrade facilities.
And new numbers are in.
To see the actual count, we go to the website:
The campaign to raise $100 million is well past the halfway point, and that’s good. Over 1,500 individual donors who have given or pledged more than $30 million. That’s good, too. But we need to do better.
The fundraising during the summer was slow and that was expected. How slow? Glad you asked.
Total donations from the June report to this past week were around $800,000. Which comes out to around $200,000 per month. Which, if that pace continued, would mean we’d reach $100 million by around mid-2034. So, yes, summer was slow.
The number of donors continues to grow, but it’s still far from the 10,000 hoped for in the campaign. Again, in visual form:
Steady growth, and actually a nice jump over the summer, but still looking for more people. And while Rutgers is looking for and hoping to create a grassroots campaign that involves a lot of interested and supportive fans, you can’t ignore the impact of major donors. This very campaign had ten $1 million+ gifts and three other major gifts - the largest in RU Athletics history - that pushed the early totals.
But those gifts, while generous and important in this campaign, pale in comparison to gifts that other schools garner. Like earlier this year on the Main Line in Philadelphia.
The national champion Villanova Wildcats have received a $22.6 million donation to renovate their arena https://t.co/xf7wnIZoy3— VU Wildcats (@VUWildcatsHub) April 21, 2016
One person, with the swipe of his pen on some document, gave Villanova almost as much money as we raised going into the first reporting back in May. And it wasn’t just in athletics.
Two gifts. Almost $48 million. That doesn’t happen at Rutgers. The reasons are myriad, and they’ve been highlighted here, especially by a variety of commenters. But that needs to change; it is what RU needs, and needs badly, to make this, and any other fundraising campaign, successful. Big individual donors along with corporate sponsorship and largesse.
How did Monmouth build the MAC?
For a prime example of how corporations can play a role in growth, look no further than West Long Branch and Monmouth University. OceanFirst Bank Center is the multi-purpose student recreational facility at Monmouth University. It is also the basketball arena and home to most of the school’s team locker rooms. It was opened in August 2009 as the Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC). It had no corporate name until this past June when OceanFirst Bank agreed to a 20-year, $4 million deal.
But what about the construction phase of the MAC, a project that took years to evolve? The building cost $57 million to build (think about it: that’s more than half of what Rutgers is trying to raise, and that’s in 2009 dollars). Did Monmouth just borrow the money? No, it did it the old fashioned way: it raised it. Including some corporate contributions from the likes of PSE&G and New Jersey Natural Gas. And you have to give credit to anyone who can get both Coke and Pepsi to donate to the same cause.
And for the record, the late Jules Plangere (see below) - former publisher of the Asbury Park Press - is a Rutgers alum, though he did not graduate from RU; he joined the Army during World War II. Rutgers inducted him into the Hall of Fame of Distinguished Alumni in 2011, in tribute to his philanthropy to the school including funding for marine science internships and the Plangere Writing Center. But his honorary degree from Monmouth 30 years ago led to this. As well as the Plangere Communication Center on campus.
In my mind, bringing in corporate donations is critical if Rutgers is going to reach its goal for this campaign before we’re all dead. We may have alums and “friends of the program” with those deep pockets, but they haven’t made themselves visible.
Naming opportunities: I always wanted my name on something
And I’m going to get it on a couple of wrestling lockers in the new facility. If you haven’t seen it, you can price out what you want to pay for by checking out this for the Multisport Facility or this for the Soccer, Lacrosse & Tennis Facility (SLT).
Back in May, we had a post on where Rutgers was getting its millions for the R B1G Build. At that time, there were six parts of the project that were funded and another two that tentatively had financial commitments. It totaled around $4.1 million dollars. Today, those numbers are changed. There are now eight spaces in the Multisport Facility that are fully funded and six more where funding has tentatively been lined up.
Interesting note: there have been no indications that the Soccer, Lacrosse, & Tennis Facility has any naming opportunities in place; the clear priority is the multisport facility.
We were all exceedingly happy to hear of the original campaign when it was announced. We were all amazed and excited to hear the first totals in May. And in truth, the numbers aren’t bad right now. But they need to be better. There needs to be more buzz and more excitement, and that comes primarily from two things: winning on the field and seeing the donations go up. Classic chicken-and-the-egg.
As fans, we can’t change what happens on the field. But we can contribute, what we can, when we can. Have you made your pledge or gift to R B1G Build?
Anybody got the phone number for the CEO at Prudential?