For Gil Cisneros, BA ’94, GW sporting events were a big part of his college experience. So it only made sense that the GW Athletics Advisory Board member would return the favor by creating the Buff & Blue Fund Challenge to support GW Athletics.
When the buzzer sounded on the inaugural Buff & Blue Fund Challenge on March 30, GW’s 450 student-athletes were the clear winners.
For every 100 donors to the Buff & Blue Fund Challenge, Cisneros gave $10,000 to GW’s Buff & Blue Fund. The money raised will provide unrestricted support for facility upgrades and enhance GW’s commitment to providing the best resources and collegiate experience to its students.
“Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of GW Athletics Advisory Council member Gil Cisneros, the inaugural Buff & Blue Challenge saw significant success for the betterment of our student-athletes,” said Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero.
Originally scheduled to run from January 3 through the end of the men’s and women’s basketball seasons, the Challenge went to overtime when GW Gymnastics won the 2015 East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Championship.
All told, more than 300 alumni, parents, coaches, staff, current and former student-athletes, and fans accepted the challenge laid out by Cisneros, resulting in a $30,000 bonus for GW Athletics. Add that to the more than $50,000 raised by non-Gils and the Buff & Blue Challenge brought in more than $80,000 in its first year.
“I hope it can be used to help take the athletic programs to the next level,” said Cisneros of his gift.
In a remarkable show of teamwork, many members of GW Athletics participated in the Challenge – including student-athletes. The executive officers of the George Washington University Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) had 100% participation, as did all head coaches, Athletics senior staff, the GW Softball team, and the GW Volleyball team and their coaching staff.
“We were very fortunate to receive a new locker room at the start of our 2014 season,” said volleyball head coach Amanda Ault. “When we heard about the Buff & Blue Fund Challenge and Gil’s generosity, our team and staff had a great chance to show our appreciation by giving back. I am proud of this group for achieving 100% participation and can’t wait to help engage even more alumni and fans in this effort next year.”
To Athletics Director Nero, the importance of the Cisneros gift and the support of Buff & Blue Fund Challenge participants cannot be understated.
“In our efforts to field a broad-based athletic department that strives to see all of our teams compete at the top of their respective conferences and make noise at the national level, unrestricted gifts to the department allow for our needs to be met,” explained Nero. “New initiatives like the Training Table – where our student-athletes enjoy a healthy breakfast every morning – and the many facilities upgrades we’ve undergone, and in our quest to recruit, retain, and travel the top student-athletes and coaches around the world, we need the entire GW community behind us.”
Total donors = 300+
Percent increase of donors over same span in 2014 = 362%
Amount donated = $50,000+
Challenge funding secured = $30,000
Total raised = $80,000+
Number of days = 87
Number of Gils = 1
While the Buff & Blue Fund Challenge may be over, you can still get in the game and make history. Make your tax-deductible gift by June 30 to count for this fiscal year.