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Breaking New Ground
Source: Athletic Management  ·  February / March 2012  ·  Excerpt

Jim Fiore was the youngest Director of Athletics in NCAA Division I when he was named to the position at Stony Brook University in August of 2003. In his tenure, he has dramatically increased athletics fundraising with regard to major gifts, annual giving revenue, and number of donors, and he currently serves on the NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet.

I consider myself very fortunate to work at one of the more powerful and incredible institutions in the country. Stony Brook University, which is part of the New York state public higher education system, has established excellence in academics and research along with an outstanding medical center and is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU).

In 1999, Stony Brook moved its athletics program to the NCAA Division I level with a goal of increasing the profile, brand, and image of the University, while improving the overall success of its sports teams. The administration wanted athletics to reach the level of prestige other parts of the campus enjoy. For the first three years, this was a struggle, with teams capturing only one conference championship.

Fast forward to 2012 and we have now won 19 conference championships, upped student-athletes' GPAs to consistently over 3.0, upgraded our football program from zero scholarships to 63, fully funded all of our women's sports, and brought in record crowds for our FCS football team this fall. We have new athletic facilities and have increased our exposure both locally and nationally.

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Our take
The educational system is now set up to allow high school students the flexibility in choosing the schools they want to attend and many are making choices, not only based on academics, but on the strength of sports programs, facilities, and the extracurricular activities schools offer. Truth being told, athletic and extracurricular activities are a main stay to successful schools.

To maintain a prosperous school, and a community where people want to live, it is necessary for school districts to be open minded. Those that embrace "out of the box" partnership opportunities and alternatives to raise dollars outside of, or in conjunction with, passing tax levies will enjoy the benefits of increased enrollment numbers, better students, and create a community where everyone wants to be. The economic impact of such forward thinking is significant.

Let Compass Pointe Philanthropic consulting help guide you in building a vision and mission for school and community prosperity. Contact us now for assistance in addressing these and other issues:

  • What opportunities exist for my school or organization to improve upon existing processes or to begin thinking differently?
  • How does the local community view my organization? What research is available on residents and the rest of local market or economy?


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