Buff & Blue Fund Challenges Athletics Alumni

Buff & Blue Fund Challenge

In baseball, the pitcher will challenge the batter with a high fastball. But in its second year, the Buff & Blue Fund Challenge is back with a changeup.

After the success of last year’s efforts, the Buff & Blue Fund Challenge is calling on alumni from GW’s 23 varsity teams to support their former programs with a gift this winter. The team with the highest alumni participation rate when the challenge ends on Feb. 21 will be named the 2016 Buff & Blue Fund Challenge Champions and take the top prize of $7,500.

This year’s Challenge is made possible thanks to the generosity of Michelle Rubin, ESIA BA ’91, chair of the GW Athletics Advisory Council. In all, Rubin is donating $15,000 to the top three teams, with second and third place netting $5,000 and $2,500 respectively.

Michell Rubin, BA '91, speaks on the importance of alumni supporting current GW students.

Click the image to hear Michelle Rubin, BA ’91, speak on the importance of alumni supporting current GW students.

“I get more out of it than I give to it,” says Rubin. “That’s what they say about philanthropy: The more you give, the more you get. I do what I can. I’d love to do more, all the time.”

While she did not play a sport at GW, Rubin’s first gift was to women’s athletics because at the time they needed it most.

“I was a kid growing up in southern California who played sports with boys because I wasn’t allowed to play organized sports,” recalls Rubin. “I thought, let these women have the opportunity I didn’t have while at the same time being able to get an amazing education.”

The Buff & Blue Fund ensures GW’s 450 student-athletes become champions in the classroom, in the community, and in competition. Unrestricted gifts support training table breakfasts, the GW Student-Athlete Leadership Academy, travel expenses, uniforms, specialized equipment, post-season competition, international trips, recruitment, and more.

“GW Athletics is deeply committed to providing a world-class education and athletic experience for all of our student-athletes,” says Director of Athletics and Recreation, Patrick Nero. “We strive to provide them with the best resources and services so they excel in all areas of life here at GW and beyond. They work hard, but they cannot do it alone.”

Which is where Rubin, former student-athletes, and the Buff & Blue Fund Challenge come into play.

Buff & Blue Fund Challenge standings as of February 5, 2016.

Buff & Blue Fund Challenge standings as of February 5, 2016.

The vice president at Regional Properties, Inc., a Beverly Hills-based real estate development company, Rubin makes the cross-country flight regularly to support GW’s student-athletes in-person.

“I want them to understand that by me being physically present there are people who support them,” she explains. “I treat my philanthropy similarly to my investments in that I simply don’t like to write a check, but I also want to see the growth of that investment; in this case it is the student-athletes at GW.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet all the coaches and many, many student-athletes,” she continues, “many of whom have graduated and are beginning their careers. I hope what I do gives them the impetus to start giving back at a young age.”

It seems to be working. More than 480 former student-athletes have given to GW Athletics this fiscal year. With two weeks to go, the top eight teams are within 10 percentage points of each other so it’s still anyone’s game.

“I think we have the greatest student-athletes of any institution of higher learning in the world,” confirms Rubin. “Every year they impress me more and more.”


The Buff & Blue Fund Challenge ends on February 21. If you’re a former student-athlete, give now to push your team to victory. Tweet #BBFChallenge when you make your gift.

Author: Craig Burdick

Craig Burdick is a writer on GW's development communications team. If you have a story idea, let him know at cburdick@gwu.edu.

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