Illinois State Athletics launched the public phase of the Keep Rising campaign, a special fund to help the department offset the loss of revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact across college athletics.
The department currently faces a revenue shortfall in excess of $1 million. That number is likely to change with schedule changes, seat limitations, and the cost of implementing other protocols with the return to sports as mandated by state laws, local policies, and NCAA rules. The ISU Athletics department has undergone hiring and spending freezes and will continue to practice cost-cutting measures. The goal of the Keep Rising campaign is help bridge the gap with the support of the Redbird faithful.
“We always seem to find a way to come together to accomplish tasks that seem insurmountable and there’s no question this one presents an enormous challenge,” Assistant Athletics Director for Development Sean Johnson said. “We are fortunate to have fans and supporters who continually help us out and this is one of the times we will need them the most. Now is the time for the Redbird family to do what they always do and tackle the challenge at hand. We’re really excited as a department to see what we can do with the Keep Rising campaign and prepare for future success with everyone’s help.”
The Keep Rising Campaign looks to provide the same level of athlete experience despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations will go towards supporting student-athletes, team budgets, staffing, and other essential needs of the department.
— ISU Redbirds (@ISURedbirds) October 5, 2020
The athletics development staff has already secured more than $35,000 in the first phase of the Keep Rising campaign, with gifts ranging from a few hundred dollars to over $10,000.
“The responses so far have been overwhelmingly positive,” Johnson said. “So many people reached out over the course of the pandemic to ask how they could help out and have followed through in a big way. We are thankful to everyone who has responded or donated so far and are excited to keep it going.”
Gifts made to the Keep Rising campaign are tax-deductible and count towards donor giving totals. If you would like more information on the Keep Rising campaign, please click here or call the Weisbecker Scholarship Fund office at (309) 438-3803.