Gator Boosters embark on campaign to raise $50 million for scholarships
Despite the economic downtown, the support of Florida athletics through Gator Boosters, Inc. continues to increase.
Gator Boosters, the fundraising arm of the University Athletic Association, is expectedto provide $30.2 million to the Florida athletic department in the upcoming year - one-third of the UAA's budget.
But it won't stop there. Last week, the organization agreed to begin a fundraising effort which will attempt to raise $50 million for Florida's scholarship endowment fund.
"We are trying to raise this money so this way our scholarships will be taken care of,'' said Chris Bryan, past president of Gator Boosters, Inc. "And that will raise us upto approximately $100 million in our endowment. We need approximately $200 million to take care of all our athletes. If you have $200 million in there, we believe the interest you get off that wold take care of those scholarships every year. That would be guaranteed for our athletic program.''
In Florida's projected 2009-10 budget, which was approved on Monday, an additional $1.6 million was allocated for men's and women's scholarships. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said that represents an increase in tuition, room and board, and fees now being administered to all students by the university. It will also cover 12 scholarships for the new women's lacrosse team. The purpose of the endowment is to try and ensure that there's never a shortfall, even as tuition continues to rise.
"We know it will be a little harder right now (because of the economy), but we feel like we have some people out there that can commit to this,'' Bryan said. "This is going to be a long-range goal. We've worked on our facilities, we're in good shape now. Now we want to work on this endowment.''