On Thursday, February 28, the Illinois State Athletics Department, along with the entire Illinois State University community, took part in the inaugural Birds Give Back: 1 Day for Change. Through the University-wide day of philanthropy, alumni, faculty/staff, students, parents, friends, and the community were encouraged to donate funds to support their areas of interest at Illinois State.
Illinois State Athletics set a goal of $40,000 to help raise funds to invest in student-athlete recovery and health. Thanks to the generous support of fans, alumni, family, and former student-athletes, Redbird Athletics surpassed its goal. Over 240 donors with gifts ranging in size from $5-$5,000 from 26 states gave back to their university and the athletics department, which led all campus units in dollars raised and total gifts.
“Over the last few years, we’ve made significant improvements in investing in strength and conditioning, nutrition, and mental health for student-athletes,” Illinois State Assistant Athletics Director for Development Sean Johnson said. “This week during Redbird Philanthropy Week, we finished that cycle by investing in student-athlete recovery health. I’m blown away by the support and generosity of our donors. This investment in the lives of our student-athletes shows that we are serious about a first-class experience while they are here and will allow us to continue to recruit high-caliber student-athletes who will compete to win championships. I couldn’t be more proud of our staff and our department and can’t thank our donors enough.”
Gifts made will be used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment, new training tables, freezers, and more to convert an outdated weight room in Horton Field House into a health recovery room for student-athletes. The investment in the health of student-athletes and in new equipment will benefit today’s Redbirds, while giving coaches another instrumental piece to recruit future Redbirds.
In total, Birds Give Back: 1 Day for Change resulted in over $609,000 raised from 1,722 donors, topping the University’s previous single-day donor record of 1,702 set in 2016 on Giving Tuesday.