Virginia Tech announced the “Reach for Excellence” athletic fundraising initiative Tuesday, with the goal of raising $400 million to fund athletic projects, salaries and scholarships by December 2027 with an eye toward competing for championships.
As reported by The Virginian-Pilot, the athletics campaign is part of a broader, school-wide “Boundless Impact: The Campaign for Virginia Tech” drive, which is designed to raise $1.5 billion.
“We can either invest in a program that competes for championships across the board, or we can be average,” Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said in a statement released by the school. “Our collective answer is clear: Our investment in athletics should match our aspirations.”
Babcock said Tech’s athletic department operates with an annual budget of about $100 million, according to the statement. The pandemic forced the department to operate without access to funds from a $60 million auxiliary budget, as well as without the benefit of 2020 football ticket revenue.
“This is an exciting day and the culmination of years of careful planning,” Babcock said. “We know that our athletics program plays a central role in the student experience and the strong bond our wider community has with Virginia Tech. The past year has seen financial challenges due to COVID-19 and other factors, but we are confident in our long-term vision and our path to achieve it.
“We appreciate the university’s show of support and commitment to excellence across Hokie sports. We also appreciate all the donors who have already stepped forward to help, and the many more who will. We are all in this together. Instead of someone doing everything, we’re asking everyone to do something.”
According to The Virginian-Pilot, specific goals of the fundraising effort include:
- A “football enhancement fund to build a program that consistently competes at the top of the ACC” with $30 million allotted for recruiting, assistant coaches salaries, quality control coaches, player development and capital needs.
- At least $50 million in privately-raised funds for further renovations to Cassell Coliseum.
- $20 million raised annually for athletic scholarships while continuing to push toward a goal of 25,000 members in the Hokie Club (Babcock said in the statement the club has increased its membership by about 10,000 in the last five years).
- Covering operating expenses, facility improvements, nutritional and strength and conditioning programs, etc. for all sports.
- Increasing athletic scholarship endowments “to expand capacity to support students and broaden reach in recruiting.”