“We’ve grown from a group of alums wanting to reconnect, to seeking a way to help others walking on the same path." ~Jonathan Starks '96
What is the fund and what does it support?
The Brothers of Lafayette Football Fund is a unique permanent endowment designed to provide both immediate financial support and long-term endowment expansion launched in conjunction with the College’s Founders’ Day (March 2023) by former Lafayette football players. The fund is exclusively in support of the players’ leadership development and experiential growth off the field in career related areas such as study abroad, internships, externships and Career Tracks through the Gateway Career Center.
How much annual support will be provided each year?
That depends on the commitment from our alumni, family and friends. However, more than 40% of every first-year gift goes toward the current year support (versus the typical 3% annual support). Currently, we have over 20 lead-participants, making a 5-year financial investment. This was constructed to ensure the greatest opportunity for student-athlete impact now! The goal is to balance philanthropic support between immediate impact and endowment development. As a result, players will not need to wait until the fund is fully endowed before they can take advantage of critical and transformational experiences.
Why was it created?
The death of George Floyd in 2020 inspired a group of Lafayette football alumni to come together and “check-in” on current Lafayette football players of color. As former players themselves, they recalled that it would have been helpful during their time on campus to have the support of alumni during critical times. The pandemic necessitated these sessions to be held via Zoom. Quickly, the mentorship sessions grew into monthly meetings, proving to be very impactful for both the players and the alumni. These sessions focused on career & leadership development, navigating difficult times as a student-athlete, financial literacy, life after college, and addressing any challenges/opportunities the players were facing. These life-changing gatherings continue on a monthly basis today. It was through these structured gatherings that The Brothers of Lafayette Football Alumni Group decided to create an endowed fund to provide, in perpetuity, the type of support that is necessary for career readiness.
Who decides which students benefit?
Decisions regarding the awarding of resources from the fund will be made by the Fred M. Kirby II ‘42 Head Football Coach and the Director of Athletics, in collaboration with the Executive Steering Committee of the Brothers of Lafayette Football Alumni on a semi-annual basis.
Almost in unison, we said that we needed to give back and help current student-athletes of color gain access to opportunities we didn’t have.
~Harrison Bailey III ’95
Which students are eligible?
Preference shall be given for those requiring financial need.
How will the Fund be used?
We wanted to remove the financial barriers that prevent students from taking advantage of the full Lafayette experience both on campus and abroad. For example, valuable career experiences like internships, externships, or the Career Tracks program present a financial hurdle for many student-athletes. Businesses and organizations often find it difficult to pay adequate wages to cover student expenses during these opportunities. Some organizations in the nonprofit and public service sectors are not able to pay at all. Without sufficient compensation, numerous students are forced to turn down these positions in lieu of earning money through more traditional summer jobs unrelated to their career path to help support themselves during the academic year.
Why should I support this endowment?
Lafayette alumni are known for their generosity and willingness to help students find their voice on campus and prepare them for successful, meaningful careers. That support is an investment in Lafayette’s national stature, which elevates everyone who holds a degree from our beloved institution. This program in particular, will help students who are under-resourced and will allow them to focus on their success in the classroom and on the field. As alumni, we have all benefited from our campus experience and the Lafayette community. This is our opportunity to pay that benefit forward.
What other comparable support is available to students who might not fit the criteria for support through The Brothers of Lafayette Football Fund?
Lafayette College offers internship stipends for students to help fill the gap when applying for low pay or no pay internships and externships. In addition, leadership development opportunities are available for student-athletes through the Oaks Leadership Academy, which provides leadership development programming, peer mentoring, and educational resources.
The Brothers of Lafayette’s first 15 donors have helped raise more than $125,000 toward their $1 million goal. To learn more or if you are interested in a multi-year commitment, contact Kathleen Marano, assistant director of major gifts at (610) 330-3352 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.