In demonstrable proof that Rutgers has turned the corner on becoming a major player and program in the Big Ten, the program has met a goal set just over a week ago to raise $81,000 to honor former Scarlet Knight great #81 Marco Battaglia on the day of the dedication of the brand-new Marco Battaglia Practice Complex. The facility was made possible because of a generous gift from donors Jeff & Amy Towers. Here are some pictures that Jeff Towers tweeted on Saturday.
As reported by our managing editor Aaron Breitman on July 28th, Loyal Son Jon Newman led this crowd-funding push in a very short time to give tangible support to the dedication of the new practice facility, scheduled for Sunday, August 6. The fund-raising drive was fueled by tweets like the one below:
Throughout the last week, the pressure was kept up, and the donations continued to pour in. Jon himself offered to donate $0.81 for every retweet of the call for donations.
As the week progressed, everyone was kept up to date on the progress with additional tweets.
As it got closer to the deadline, you could feel the build of excitement as the goal became within reach:
On Saturday evening, the goal was in sight:
Finally, late Saturday night, the evening prior to the dedication, Jon was able to make the final announcement:
This type of “on the fly” fundraising effort, that could generate this kind of response in such a short period of time, would have been unheard of just a few short years ago. However, the changes in the program in terms of expectations, as well as those who are in charge, have made a tremendous difference.
It should also be noted that one of the biggest differences is the willingness of the administration of the Rutgers Athletics department to partner with these programs. Just three years ago, I had worked with a group that was interested in creating a fundraising group, and their efforts were openly discouraged by the Rutgers Athletics Office at the time. The group of alumni were very disheartened, and soon gave up on their goal to work with the University to raise money on the school’s behalf.
Of course, that was with the prior regime, and it is obvious that under current Athletic Director Pat Hobbs, he is willing to do whatever is needed to make the program a success.
As for Jon Newman? Well, he certainly isn’t going to give up, either. Once he met his goal, he immediately wanted to keep it going, and tweeted out the following:
Congratulations to not only Jon Newman, but all of the more than 250 individuals who donated in this quick campaign, as well as the Big Ten Build captains, who also jumped right in to make this a success. As I said at the top, it is a new day at Rutgers. Congratulations to all on this great effort!