Ole Miss Athletics fundraising efforts continue to reach new heights with a record $26 million in cash donations received for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013. This total represents a 33 percent increase over fiscal 2012 cash donations and a 49 percent increase over fiscal 2011.
The Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, which is comprised of members who make a donation to support Ole Miss Athletics, surpassed its all-time record for members with a total of 7,412 as of today. The membership has increased 9 percent from 2012, including 1,613 new members who have joined since the rebranding on March 1.
“We are so thankful for the support of the Ole Miss family,” said Ross Bjork, Director of Athletics. “This achievement is a true testament to the passion and enthusiasm of Rebel Nation. Their support will continue to allow us to provide a world class experience for our student-athletes, and compete for and win championships in the future. All of us who call Ole Miss home are inspired and energized by this outpouring of gifts and we pledge to keep building on the momentum and excel at the next level on and off the field.”
Annual giving, which is comprised of Ole Miss Athletics Foundation membership and priority seating donations, accounts for 57 percent of the cash total and increased 31 percent from $11.2 million to $14.7 million. Annual membership starts at $50.
“We rebranded and restructured Annual Giving in March, and the response has been tremendous,” said Keith Carter, Associate Athletics Director and Executive Director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. “With this new simple and inclusive model, our goal is to raise our total membership to 10,000 and we are confident with the help of Rebel Nation, we will make this happen.”
The Vaught Society, which began in 2010 with 29 original charter members, now has over 235 members and has received over $27 million in pledges for Ole Miss Athletics since 2010. Vaught Society members make pledges of $25,000 or greater over the course of five years. Cash contributions to the Vaught Society for the 2013 fiscal year totaled $5.7 million, a 137 percent increase from $2.4 million in 2012.
“We continue to be amazed with people stepping up every day in support of Ole Miss Athletics,” added Carter. “Our staff will continue to work tirelessly with our current donors and find new annual donors and supporters to the Forward Together campaign this coming year as we continue to build upon the energy on campus.”
The Forward Together campaign has surpassed the $80 million mark on its way to a goal of $150 million, raising close to $20 million in new pledges over the past year. Projects have begun on Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and the Indoor Practice Facility, and an architect has been hired to begin designing the new basketball arena.