Donations to Georgia State’s Panther Athletic Club are projected to be significantly less this year than in three of the previous four fiscal years. However, Todd Reeser, senior associate athletics director, said skewing the health of this year’s total is the lack of “big gifts (donations of more than $25,000)” such as those made in years past.
The Panther Athletic Club has received $658,000 in restricted (earmarked for certain sports) and unrestricted donations through May 9, compared to the $3.1 million it received in fiscal year 2011, which runs from July 1 through June 30. Georgia State projects it will total $800,000 in donations. While that would be less than was received in 2011, 2010 or 2008, Reeser points to the numbers behind the numbers as evidence of the financial health of Georgia State’s athletics department.
Reeser said donations and donors to the annual fund have grown steadily from $32,000 from 230 donors in the 2009 fiscal year, to a projected $600,000 from 1,200 donors this fiscal year.
“I’m a big believer that a strong annual fund is what you need,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate that we’ve had some people who have stepped up for us.”
The announcement in April that Georgia State will move from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Sun Belt Conference, which plays football on the FBS level, has helped the fundraising efforts. Reeser said the Panther Athletic Club received a $50,000 donation as a direct result, while others have made pledges. Donations have increased by almost $400,000 since the end of February, which coincides with the solicitation of season tickets and the news that the Sun Belt was considering GSU.
He said starting football two years ago and the subsequent move to playing at a bowl-game level is allowing Georgia State to talk to more people about gifts and that they are having conversations with several potential “big” donors.
“[Annual donations] Are critical to health of a strong program,” Reeser said. “That’s why football has been so key. It’s allowed us to engage and re-engage with people who like football or basketball or other sports.”
Fund-raising is about to reach a critical point for Georgia State because it is supposed to unveil the master plan for its sports facilities this week. The plan will include the renovation for the Sports Arena, the volleyball complex, a baseball stadium, a softball stadium and a soccer arena. Most of Georgia State’s outdoor non-rev sports play at Panthersville, which is located 15 miles away from campus. The university would like to find 15 acres to build either one complex, or separate areas, closer to campus.
Georgia State donations donations, which include restricted (earmarked for certain sports) and unrestricted (gifts to the Panther Athletic Club), during the previous four years is outlined below.
The PAC total is included in total donations.
Year/Gifts/Total donations/PAC donors/PAC total