In an effort to support the University of West Georgia (UWG) student athletes and the athletic program, the UWG Athletic Booster Club in 1980’s founded the University of West Georgia Athletic Foundation (UWGAF) in 2013. As the 2014-2015 fiscal year comes to an end, UWGAF raised a record-breaking $2.9 million of scholarship money for student athletes and donations for UWG Athletics.
UWG President Dr. Kyle Marrero, along with former Vice President of UWG’s Division of University Advancement Bill Estes, Athletic Director Daryl Dickey, former UWGAF President Karen Clevenger, Executive Director Matthew Clay and various other booster club members decided to start the non-profit organization.
“Their leadership and vision helped us start the University of West Georgia Athletic Foundation and is the reason why fundraising through gifts, donations and partnerships from alumni and friends became a priority,” Clay said.
The large jump from the $1.1 million raised last year not only helped more student athletes gain their college degrees and helped the athletic programs become more competitive, but also confirmed the progress of the foundation.
“This record growth verifies that foundation efforts are moving in the right direction for funding more scholarships, equipment, facilities and academic support for our athletes,” said Joey Godwin, president of UWGAF.
The foundation has over 65 corporate partners and almost 1,000 unique and individual donors. Among those donors are an elite group of impassioned supporters called the Champions Council who contributed greatly to the foundation’s success.
“Members of the Champions Council, who committed to $100,000 over five years, play a critical role in elevating UWG Athletics and leading the program into the next era of success,” Clay said. “Not since the Wolves’ 1982 national championship has there been an opportunity for such far-reaching impact on UWG Athletics and our community.”
A championship season for the 2014 UWG Wolves has also been impactful to fans, supporters and the UWGAF program.
“This past year our student athletes accomplished more in the classroom and on the field than in previous years,” Clay said. “The excitement around UWG athletics continues to grow and prosper.”
While the success of any foundation is typically related to the generosity of donors and supporters, Godwin believes board members and staff were equally valuable in contributing to this groundbreaking accomplishment.
“Matthew Clay and our UWG administration staff are highly instrumental in ensuring success for the foundation,” Godwin said. “The board members, with their loyalty through changes from a booster club to an impactful foundation, should be recognized.”
As the foundation continues to grow, Godwin and Clay hope the impressive numbers will encourage others to give and support UWG athletics and help keep the momentum of the athletic program moving forward.
“We hope to grow the UWGAF and make an impact through more members, corporate partners, alumni involvement and supporting communities,” Godwin said. “In the coming years, we will recruit additional Champions Council members, work to increase the Athletic Foundation’s scholarship endowment and expand our athletics facilities.”