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DII sets another Make-A-Wish fundraising record

Members raise $634,000 to reach new high for 6th straight year

Twenty-five Division II schools raised enough Make-A-Wish funds in 2015-16 to host a wish reveal on campus. One of those wish reveals took place last spring at Lindenwood (Missouri), where student-athletes presented 11-year-old Carissa with a Disney cruise vacation.

Division II schools raised more than $634,000 for Make-A-Wish during the 2016-17 academic year. The amount raised sets a new Division II fundraising record for the sixth consecutive year and exceeds last year’s total by $26,000.

Since the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee established the partnership with Make-A-Wish in 2003, the division has raised over $5.3 million for the nonprofit organization. Those funds have been used to grant wishes to more than 660 kids across the country with life-threatening medical conditions.

“Division II values its partnership with Make-A-Wish and loves the ability to support an organization that does so much good for so many people,” said Jasmyn Lindsay, a former softball student-athlete at Queens (North Carolina) and Division II SAAC chair. “As student-athletes, we know that we face struggles and adversity, but these obstacles oftentimes pale in comparison to what a Make-A-Wish family is going through. We are fortunate to have campuses and communities that support us, and we want to give that back to families who are facing hard times.”

More than 81 percent of the Division II schools participated in raising money for Make-A-Wish. More than 250 schools from all 24 Division II conferences participated, including 100 percent participation from three conferences: Great Midwest Athletic Conference, Heartland Conference and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, the top fundraising conference, raised $70,210, marking the first time a conference office has surpassed $70,000. At the campus level, the previous year's leader, North Georgia, remains at the top, bringing in $26,000.

The alliance with Make-A-Wish also provides student-athletes with the opportunity to see their hard work pay off. SAAC continued a model adopted two years ago in which money collected from championship and enforcement fines are added to institutional fundraising in order for institutions to have the opportunity to host a wish reveal party on campus. In 2016-17, eight institutions raised more than $10,000 — the national average cost of a wish reveal — and automatically earned a wish reveal party. An additional 22 schools raised over $4,000 and will receive money from the fines to help them meet the minimum fundraising requirement for a wish reveal.

“If you ever have any doubt that the fundraising we do has an impact on children and their families, just watch a wish reveal,” Lindsay said. “The elation and gratitude that is shown by these families makes everything we do worth it. These wish reveals can change a child’s outlook on their oftentimes bleak situation, and seeing that is priceless.”

Top 30 Institutions:

University of North Georgia
Nova Southeastern University
Mississippi College
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Lee University
University of California, San Diego
California University of Pennsylvania
Grand Valley State University
Lindenwood University
Flagler College
Harding University
Lubbock Christian University
University of Findlay
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Stonehill College
University of New Haven
California State University, Stanislaus
Pittsburg State University
Delta State University
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
Oklahoma Baptist University
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Tusculum College
Notre Dame College (Ohio)
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
University of Indianapolis
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Conference Rankings:

Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference
Gulf South Conference
Peach Belt Conference
Sunshine State Conference
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association
California Collegiate Athletic Association
Northeast-10 Conference
Great American Conference
South Atlantic Conference
Lone Star Conference
Pacific West Conference
Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
Great Lakes Valley Conference
Heartland Conference
Great Northwest Athletic Conference
East Coast Conference
Conference Carolinas
Mountain East Conference
Great Midwest Athletic Conference
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference