Yale’s fundraising campaign for Tomorrow is well on its way today, which is a promising prospect for the Yale athletic department. The department plans to raise money to renovate facilities and create new individual endowments for each of its 35 programs, administrators in the department said.
“Everything is about providing the best experience for our athletes,” Athletic Director Tom Beckett said.
The Yale Tomorrow campaign, launched on September 30th, intends to raise $3 billion over the next five years — including $1.3 billion already amassed in the campaign’s “quiet phase” — to be used for various purposes throughout the University. Yale Tomorrow divides its campaign efforts into four general areas: the arts, the science, the University’s global role, and the College, which includes athletics.
The vision of the athletics department is to have all the operations of its 35 varsity programs endowed by the campaign’s end, Senior Associate Director of Development & Community Outreach Tim Ford said. The real dream is to create a new million-dollar endowment for each program, including those that already have sizeable ones, he said.
The Yale Investments Office manages the preexisting athletics endowment as a part of the university’s overall portfolio, but the funds produced from this are not the sole source of support for athletics programs. Ford said the athletics department has always received tremendous financial support from the university and from alumni, but it would like to see all its operations, including every head coach position, covered by endowments. Besides coaching, there are also endowments solely dedicated to areas such as facility maintenance and community outreach.
“The investment office does its magic with Yale’s endowment, and they have done a remarkable job,” he said. “The benefit of the Yale investment has had a huge impact.”
He said the money earmarked for athletics has grown over the last few years, which has allowed better access to new equipment and premium opportunities, including expanded travel for preseason training.
Although these recent years have been fruitful, administrators in the athletic department are hoping for more flexibility.
“It’s easier for the athletic department to predict funding once the endowment is set up,” Millar said. “They can count on money every year.”
Although Yale Tomorrow will help provide this security, President Levin said, athletics is not as high a priority as it has been in previous wide-scale fund-raising campaigns. Beckett said that during a 1992-’97 drive, athletics-related projects were an essential part of the overall effort. The funds from that five-year initiative have gone towards renovations of Payne Whitney Gymnasium and Ray Tompkins House, as well as endowing some head coaching positions.
Jim Millar, president of the Yale Crew Association, is one of the many sports alumni involved in the Yale Tomorrow campaign. He said he encourages former rowers to contribute and provide a long-term commitment to the team. The association, which Millar said already has over ten endowments, is looking to augment the two campaigns it began in 2005 and 2006. He said many alumni are informed about the campaign and he believes program-specific endowments are attractive to alumni because they ensure the future of their sport at Yale.
Funds raised by the Yale Tomorrow campaign will also go into the renovations of facilities, athletic administrators said. On the agenda are the Yale Bowl, Cullman Courts, Ingalls Rank and Reese Stadium. Beckett said he hopes the scores of blueprints sitting in his office will soon become reality.
Beckett said the ultimate goal is to provide current athletes with a world-class experience. He said he hopes the growth of the endowment will ensure that future generations of Bulldogs will have the same opportunities.
“[The endowment] is a gift that keeps on giving,” Millar said.