During the 2019-20 academic year, Division II schools raised more than $205,000 as part of their ongoing partnership with Make-A-Wish. Since 2003, Division II schools have donated more than $6.4 million and granted over 760 wishes.
While Division II’s fundraising efforts were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the division’s schools still honored their commitment to Make-A-Wish.
“This past year, we’ve all felt change and uncertainty,” said Alex Shillow, chair of the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a football player at Texas A&M-Commerce. “Through that, we still managed to make creating life-changing wishes a priority for our division. We value our partnership with Make-A-Wish and didn’t let a global pandemic stop that.”
For the sixth consecutive year, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference was the top fundraising conference, raising $35,294. For the fifth consecutive year, North Georgia raised more than any other Division II school, bringing in $13,800.
Division II SAAC continues to use an allocation model that was adopted five years ago, which allows money from Division II championships and enforcement fines to supplement institutional fundraising to help schools host a wish reveal celebration on their campus. During the 2019-20 year, three schools raised at least $10,000, which is the average cost of granting a wish. Those three schools automatically earned a wish reveal celebration. Five other schools earned wish reveals through the supplemental funds based on the allocation model.
Despite the challenges that the pandemic presented, Shillow said continuing the work with Make-A-Wish was incredibly important. He emphasized that Division II’s mission of ensuring student-athletes live a life balanced among academics, athletics and community engagement continues to show itself through the partnership with Make-A-Wish.
“We adapted, just like our amazingly brave and strong Make-A-Wish kiddos do,” Shallow said. “I’m encouraged by the continued passion for changing the lives of wish kids and their families from our student-athletes. The opportunity to make a difference every year through Make-A-Wish will continue to be a priority in Division II.”