Over 240 Wisconsin student-athletes participated in the seventh annual Badger Fund Thank-a-Thon Dec. 4-7 at Camp Randall Stadium. Several members of all 23 of UW's athletic teams volunteered a few hours of their time to call 5,000 randomly selected Badger Fund donors nationwide to thank them for their financial support of the Badgers. Donors who were not reached by telephone received a personal thank you note from a student-athlete.
The Thank-a-Thon is an important part of our athletic development efforts, said Marija Pientka, associate athletic director for development and a former UW womens tennis student-athlete. First, it provides a unique way for our student-athletes to directly acknowledge the support of individual contributors. Second, it gives us an opportunity to educate our student-athletes on the importance of private support and the impact it has on their own experience at the University of Wisconsin.
The conversations and feedback the student-athletes received from the donors varied with each phone call they made. Some student-athletes had to explain the phone call was simply a thank-you and not a solicitation. One donor responded to a student-athlete, Whomever makes you do these thank you calls is doing a good job. Its why I give.
Ken and Sandy Falkinham of Wadsworth, Ill., said following their phone call from men's basketball 6-11 center J.P. Gavinski, We had such a nice talk with him. Very nice that some of us `old folks get remembered by these students, and of course the Badger Fund and the Department of Athletics.
The UW Athletic Department receives no state tax dollars to support its annual operating budget. Instead, it is a self-sustaining program that relies on private gifts, as well as other external revenue sources, to meet its annual costs. In 2005, a record number 15,500 donors made gifts to Wisconsin Athletics totaling $19.5 million. Contributions are primarily used to fund scholarships, facility projects, travel and equipment needs.
Please contact the Badger Fund at 608-262-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about opportunities available to donors to Wisconsin Athletics.