Abilene Christian University director of athletics Lee De León has announced the launch of the Wildcats' most comprehensive fundraising strategy in years, designed to benefit donors while providing financial support for all 16 teams as ACU nears the end of its full transition to NCAA Division I.
The Wildcat Club – a re-branding of former booster clubs at ACU with the same name – launched Wednesday as the official fundraising organization of ACU Athletics. Donors can find details about how to participate in the Wildcat Annual Fund, Excellence Funds (which support specific teams and departments), capital projects, scholarship endowments, and planned giving on a new website, ACUWildcatClub.com.
"Fundraising groups like the Wildcat Club are the heartbeat of all Division I athletics programs," said De León. "The generosity of alumni, lettermen, parents and other fans makes the critical difference in our student-athletes and teams being able to compete at a national level and be successful inside and outside the classroom."
Anyone who contributes $100 or more annually to any area within ACU Athletics will automatically become a member of the Wildcat Club and will receive exclusive member benefits. Membership can be renewed on an annual basis and all gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by IRS
Dollars raised by the Wildcat Club will directly impact more than 300 student-athletes by providing scholarships, enhancing facilities and promoting academic and athletics success. De León said his immediate membership goal between now and June 1 is 500 members, with growth expected to go up from that point.
"We have tremendous fans of ACU Athletics who have given generously over the years and we are grateful for their gifts," De León said. "However, to succeed at the NCAA Division I level, we need an official fundraising entity for ACU Athletics to bring structure to our development efforts and help us better cultivate, engage and steward our donors."
In addition to exclusive benefits, members of the Wildcat Club will earn Wildcat Loyalty Points for their dollars contributed, season tickets purchased and consecutive years as members and/or season ticket holders. These points will be used to determine high-demand items such as away game and postseason tickets, as well as priority seating and parking at the new Wildcat Stadium opening in September 2017.
ACU Athletics will host a launch event Saturday afternoon in Gym C of the Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Refreshments will be served at the event, which will take place at about 3:45 p.m., between games of the basketball doubleheader between ACU and Lamar University. Anyone interested in more information about the Wildcat Club is invited to attend. Abilene Christian president Dr. Phil Schubert, De León and head football coach Ken Collums will speak briefly and answer questions.