Fort Hill Club looks to the long term

Originally Published by Clemson World | January 2, 2014

Since 2006, the Fort Hill Clemson Club has funded annual scholarships for students through the money raised from their annual Recruiting Wrap Up. But this year, they decided a change was in order.

The event has more than tripled in attendance to 700 and increased more than 1,000 percent in sponsorships to $21,000. Held the day after recruiting ends, it includes chats with the coaches and players, barbecue and getting the inside scoop on the season to come.

Jerry Handegan and Eric Breazel

Jerry Handegan and Eric Breazel

This year, club leadership took a look at their profits and their goals. “There were always two schools of thought,” says former club president Jerry Handegan. “Do we give immediate money now, or do we create an endowment? People wanted to do scholarships. So we just gave our $10,000 annually for that.”

According to Eric Breazel, also a past president of the club, “As the event got more and more successful, we began to ask the question, ‘Should we think more long term?’ What pushed us over the edge was a chat with the financial aid and admissions staff, and hearing their perspective on the benefits of endowment — being able to attract students and offer them four-year scholarships. It was a no brainer.”

The club is actually doing both for now, giving an annual scholarship until the endowment reaches a high enough level to support more scholarships. The club invites scholarship recipients to the event each year, and according to Breazel, that makes the day even more special. “Obviously, folks come to see Dabo and the recruits. But while we’re welcoming new student-athletes we’re also celebrating new academic scholarships as well.”

And their message to other groups? “I would strongly like to encourage other groups or individuals to take a second or third look at making a gift that will make an impact for generations to come, not just for one year,” says Breazel. “Clemson’s still young and has centuries to go. An endowment can make a significant difference.”

To learn more about how you can make an impact on the future of Clemson, visit clemson.edu/giving, call 864-656-5896 or email [email protected]

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