Zips Athletics Launches "Drive for 5" Fundraising Campaign

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AKRON, Ohio
– The University of Akron Department of Athletics has launched its "Drive for 5" fundraising campaign, with a goal to double its Z-Fund membership to 5,000 and raise $5 million annually by 2015.
 
"To become a truly elite athletics program, we need the ongoing support of our donors as well as the support of new Z-Fund members," Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill said. "Zips Athletics has made tremendous strides over the last decade, and we are eager to grow our Z-Fund membership so we can continue providing our nearly 450 student-athletes with a first-class experience while they earn their degrees and compete at the highest level of college athletics.”
 
Thanks to its Z-Fund members, Zips Athletics has achieved many notable milestones over the last 10 years, including:
 
2010-11 Highest Cumulative GPA in the Mid-American Conference at 3.14
• 200 Student-Athletes on Dean's List in 2011-12
2011 Excellence in Management Cup
2010 Men's Soccer NCAA Championship
2009 NCAA Air Rifle Champion (Jenna Compton)
2009 NCAA Women's Hammer Throw Champion (Stevi Large)
• 33 MAC Regular Season Championships
• 14 MAC Tournament Championships
 
"We currently have just over 2,000 donors and generate almost $3.5 million annually," Wistrcill said. "Our goals are aggressive, just like our aspirations, but we can't do it alone. We are asking everyone in Zips Nation to do their part and support the Zips."
 
The "Drive for 5" is an incentive-based program that includes additional benefits for current Z-Fund members, especially those who recruit new members. Throughout the campaign, the Z-Fund will offer various rewards – such as road trips with a team, private dinners with coaches and other give-a-ways – to people who participate in the drive. The campaign also includes the creation of a donor-accessible Z-Fund Priority Points System, allowing members to view where they rank and what they can do to improve seating and parking options at home events and their status for purchasing postseason tickets.
 
"Z-Fund members have committed more than $35 million to the Department of Athletics since 2002," Associate Athletics Director for Development George Van Horne said. "This support has allowed us to open state-of-the-art facilities, endow scholarships and provide a meaningful experience to our student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom. We have the giving of our alumni, fans and friends to thank for those successes, but we need to take the next step and can't do so without a renewed commitment from them and the greater Akron community."