South Carolina State Athletics launched a major gifts initiative in June of 2018 to raise money for additional student-athlete scholarships and facility upgrades. Now, a year later, the athletics department has reached $1.67 million of its $2 million fundraising goal. The department aims to reach its goal by the end of December.

"Our first responsibility is ensuring that our student-athletes are educated and graduate," said Athletics Director Stacy Danley. "We must remember that we are in the business of educating and teaching young people. It is also imperative to provide an environment that fosters student-athlete welfare and enhances the overall student-athlete experience."

This can be a difficult task without the necessary funding, which is why SC State Athletics leadership turned to philanthropy to achieve several of its strategic goals. The major gift initiative will play a pivotal role in furthering the development of student-athletes by ensuring they have access to some of the top facilities and resources in the country.

The initiative is called RISE...with Bulldog Tenacity! Renovate, Innovate, Scholarship, & Excellence: A Major Gift Initiative for South Carolina State Athletics. Projects to be funded include:

(1) Resurfacing the track

(2) Replacing the turf field at the football stadium

(3) Increasing the athletic scholarship fund

(4) Creating a "Fund for Excellence"

"Our coaching staff and our athletes work extremely hard to be competitive and to win," said Hank Allen, a 1978 graduate of SC State and campaign co-chair. "What they need now is financial and fan support. Additional funding will allow us to close financial gaps created by university budget constraints, and most importantly, it will help us to become more competitive within the MEAC Conference and regain our championship ways. Our coaches and athletes deserve our very best as alums, fans and supporters."

To date, more than $1,600,000 has been gifted or pledged to the RISE initiative. The university celebrated this milestone in a public announcement event on July 18th in the Bulldog Lounge on campus.

Thus far, the Athletics Department has invested $300,000 into summer school scholarships and $37,000 in Fall and Spring academic scholarships as a result of the major gift initiative.

Danley expressed gratitude for the university's President James E. Clark and board of trustees for their support of his vision for the department. He is also thankful for the contributions of alumni and other donors.

"Through the private support of our loyal sons and daughters and generous donors, we can provide student-athletes with the opportunities they need to succeed in both the academic and athletic arenas," said Danley.

"I have been a life-long giver to SCSU since graduating in 1984," said Douglas Gantt, a 1984 graduate of SC State and campaign co-chair. "I give because there were many others who did not know me or my name but chose to give their time, money, knowledge and resources to ensure I could attend SCSU and receive an education. They changed my life, and I want to do the same for others. I hope and pray that others will join me in giving so that those who follow us will be able to say the same."

For more information, contact Kemberly Greene at (803) 516- 4562; kgreen29@scsu.edu or Kendrick Lewis at (803) 536-8227; klewis19@scsu.edu.

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