Crusader Athletics Fund and Holy Cross Athletics Celebrate Purple Pride Challenge

The Crusader Athletics Fund and Holy Cross Athletics are celebrating a big win! The Purple Pride Challenge was a 2013 Winter Homecoming fundraising initiative that encouraged former Holy Cross athletes, friends and family to support Holy Cross Athletics. A group of alumni issued the Challenge whereby all gifts made to the Crusader Athletics Fund during the Winter Homecoming weekend (Feb. 15-17) would be matched, up to $250 per gift, and up to a total of $50,000.

The Challenge encouraged alumni, family and friends to come together to show pride in Holy Cross Athletics by supporting the sports’ teams that mean the most to them. The Challenge brought in  $63,385.32 from 402 donors over the three-day weekend. Overall, the Purple Pride Challenge secured $113,385.32 for the Crusader Athletics Fund! 

“As a new member of the Holy Cross family, I was overjoyed with the response to this challenge and delighted by the pride that Holy Cross alumni have for their athletic programs,” Heather Palmer, associate director of annual athletic fundraising said. “It is a true sign of great things to come for Holy Cross Athletics.” 

This event excited and motivated student-athletes and coaches to get involved by making calls and using social media to spread the word about the challenge and how it would help their teams. During the first two weeks of February, four phonathons were held and former Crusader Athletics Fund donors were notified about the upcoming Challenge.

“Participating in the phonathon was a great first- time experience,” said Justin Burrell ’15, of the men’s basketball team. “The conversations were great and the alumni and supporters were very welcoming.”

“Interacting with the former women's rowers was fun,” Bridget Schirripa ’14 said. “They were very excited to talk about rowing and Holy Cross and liked to share their stories. I remember speaking specifically with one alumna who is currently coaching one of our rival teams. She told me she will always be a Crusader and every time we race them she secretly roots for the Crusaders.” 

Schirripa and the women’s rowing team know firsthand how donor support can impact a program and she was able to speak to that when she reached out to donors. “The Crusader Athletics Fund helped the women's rowing team buy new uniforms, lift gear, travel outfits, travel bags and oars. These are all required equipment for the team that in past years we have had to pay for ourselves. These former rowers were very generous and our team will be forever grateful. Furthermore, these funds helped cover the cost of our trip to England last summer when we rowed in the Henley Royal Regatta. I know for me that was the height of my rowing career and I feel so fortunate to have been able to go. I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to those that donated; they will continue to influence greatly my rowing experience here at Holy Cross."

For field hockey, the results of this challenge sent a great message to Head Coach Zowie Tucker and the current team. This Challenge helped bring in as many donors as all of last year totaled. “It was wonderful to see how many alumnae and young alumnae donated back to the program during the Purple Pride Challenge. As the head coach you always hope to see the involvement of past players because it demonstrates the support they have for the program, the current team, and the coaching staff,” Tucker said. 

 “It shows a sense of pride and reflection that their time at Holy Cross was a journey filled with learning and accomplishment. It also sets a great example to the current team and upcoming alumnae that their time beyond the gates matters and that they can still support our team in a positive manner once they have graduated.” 

The Purple Pride Challenge was a big win for the Crusader Athletics Fund but it is not the only victory that counts. Holy Cross Athletics will continue to rely on the support of alumni, family and friends to reach the next level.

The Crusader Athletics Fund is an annual fundraising program geared exclusively toward the College’s 27 varsity programs. The money raised through this annual fund is entirely budget-enhancing and is used for vital varsity programming costs which include coaching, enhanced recruitment, equipment upgrades and team competition travel, among other things.

For more information on the Crusader Athletics Fund, click here.