Making Every Dollar Count

As of May 27, a total of $201,875 has been raised by the members of RedRaiderSports.com.

May 27, 2014

By Blayne Beal
Associate AD, Texas Tech

When Wes Kittley's men's track and field team brought home the Big 12 Championship last week, that title wasn't won by virtue of Tech placing first or second in every race. In fact, Tech was able to win the championship by scoring in nearly every event, which meant those that finished between fourth and eighth ended up scoring valuable points for the team.

That is what you call a championship team effort.

In early December of last year, the passionate fans at RedRaiderSports.com had a similar vision in mind. How do we separate ourselves from every other online fan forum and do something truly unique that will have a lasting impact on Texas Tech Athletics?

Most importantly, how do we take small amounts of giving from everyday fans and make an immediate impact at Texas Tech?

So the forum turned to Terry Fuller, otherwise known as PrevostRaider on the forum, for help. Terry and his wife Linda have been lifelong supporters of Texas Tech University and have contributed millions of dollars to both athletics and academics.

After hearing the charge from the Red Raider Sports community, Fuller approached Amy Heard in the Red Raider Club as well as Andrea Tirey in institutional advancement to find a solution.

"I told them I think we have a lot of people that might be able to give $25 or $50, if we could figure out an avenue to make that happen," Fuller said.

That conversation, and a few others after it, led the group down the path of creating a website where fans could sign up and contribute any amount that they felt comfortable with.

"On the development side, you need $10,000 as a minimum to establish an endowment of some sort," Fuller noted. "I was pretty sure we could get $10,000 but wasn't sure how much more than that we could actually get."

So on December 16, 2013, Fuller made the announcement on the website that the opportunity to create an endowment on behalf of RedRaiderSports.com had become a reality. Any donation, big or small, would go to fund a scholarship for a Texas Tech Football student-athlete and help chart a new course for a young man's life.

In a world where crowdsourcing dominates in forums such as RedRaiderSports.com and other social media networking sites, the challenge to do something great soon became a competition amongst members.

"By creating this scholarship endowment, Red Raider fans have demonstrated that gifts of all sizes have a meaningful impact on the future of Texas Tech University Athletics."
Andrea Tirey, Senior Director of Development

Crowdsourcing eventually became `crowdfunding' and the endowment took off in a way that nobody involved would have ever dreamed possible. And perhaps created new fundraising model that could catch on across the country.

For someone like Amy Heard, who is responsible for the generation of scholarship funds for student athletes through the Red Raider Club, this endowment was very special.

"This approach capitalizes on the connection these individuals have with one another and the passion they feel for Texas Tech," Heard said. "The group, driven by their passion for sports and competition, set up timely incentives. This drove participation from the global message board membership and inspired matching gifts from donors with the capacity to further move the needle."

"The fact that 80 percent of this effort was funded by gifts of less than $100 is very exciting," Heard noted. "Ultimately this illustrates and proves that every single dollar makes an impact and these gifts collectively will now serve Texas Tech student-athletes forever."

What started out as a way to just hopefully get over the $10,000 minimum for an endowment grew to an incredible $200,000 in just 137 days.

"By creating this scholarship endowment, Red Raider fans have demonstrated that gifts of all sizes have a meaningful impact on the future of Texas Tech University Athletics," Andrea Tirey, Senior Director of Development said.

So for any skeptics out there of online message boards, the members of RedRaiderSports.com have sent a very clear message of just where their heart and passion belongs.

Michael Carle (TTU99Grad), a longtime member of RedRaiderSports.com and a contributor to the endowment summed it up the best.

"There are definitely people who have disagreements on the boards and aren't afraid to share their opinions on just about everything," Carle said. "While people may disagree on how we get to one point, everyone agrees on where we are going. And that is to hopefully make Texas Tech the best athletic and academic institution that we can and I think this endowment embodies that spirit of teamwork."

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