Athletic department’s ‘fundraising arm’ raises most funds in five years

Isabella Schreck, Sports Editor

The Golden Flashes Club, the athletic department’s annual donors, raised its highest amount of money since 2017 in its first full year after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group’s 2,300 donors, who increased 189 percent from last year, raised more than $3.6 million for sports teams and student athletes in the 2022 fiscal year.

“We’re trying to do right by our student athletes in our programs and give these kids who put in countless time and effort into their craft the best experience possible,” said Dan Griffin, assistant athletics director — communications and broadcasting.

Griffin attributed the record numbers in part to athletic director Randale Richmond.

“It was really refreshing to see the excitement that Randale and his staff and his leadership has generated,” he said. “And that was shown through the results within the fundraising.”

Richmond became athletic director in May 2021. He had worked in KSU’s Student-Athlete Academic Services and Compliance for 10 years.

From 2015-2021, Richmond supervised Student-Athlete Academic Services, Leadership Development and NCAA Compliance at Old Dominion University. There, he served as senior Associate Athletic Director for Sport Administration and Student-Athlete Welfare.

The 2022 fiscal year was the AD’s first full year in the position.

“It really comes down to his mission, his values and what he has put forth as what he wants to see out of his time as athletic director and as a Division I first-class student athlete experience,” Griffin said. “That excitement and his passion is palpable. It really does trickle down to every member of our staff and obviously out into the community.”

Griffin described The Golden Flashes Club (TGFC) as the athletic department’s “fundraising arm.”

“Its job is to raise funds for that student-athlete experience, whether that’s our fully-endowed scholarships or helping offset facility upgrades,” Griffin said. “The Golden Flashes Club plays a pivotal role in helping make those things a reality.”

Within the department’s Play As One campaign, which raises money for endowed scholarships and the M.A.C. Center, six athletic facilities were named after generous donors. The Giving Tuesday campaign, the university’s annual November fundraiser, recorded $357,000 for athletics.

TGFC’s main fundraiser is its athletics scholarship auction, which features items, activities and special guests. This year, 300 guests donated $120,000. The event went virtual in 2020 and did not happen in 2021.

“The scholarship auction is our main fundraiser every year,” Griffin said. “Being able to have that live and in person back here at the M.A.C. Center this past spring was huge for us. It takes the entire department’s worth of work in order to make something like that happen.”

That event raised money that directly goes toward student-athlete scholarships. Funds “go to where that money is needed the most” throughout the teams.

“Not everybody is on a scholarship, and we try to distribute it as evenly as possible,” Griffin said. “Each sport, per the NCAA, has a cap on the number of scholarships. For football, it’s 85, and it trickles down to baseball which has [11.7].”

Griffin said the biggest pull for donors is the excitement created on the court and on the field –  and within the athletic department.

“Our teams are performing extremely well, and the passion that Randale exudes throughout his leadership staff and into the AD department is contagious,” he said. “All people have to do is come to games and see what we’re all about – that product is going to speak for itself.”

Isabella Schreck is sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].