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For the third year in a row, funds raised for Lower Columbia College during Give More 24! will go to the Athletic Excellence Fund to supplement student-athlete scholarships.

The LCC Foundation decides each year which part of the campus will benefit from the Give More 24! annual online fundraiser.

The Athletic Excellence Fund got its start when the college needed to find new ways to meet the needs of the athletic program, said Athletic Director Kirc Roland.

“We have to fundraise our own scholarships in order to get them to these kids. It’s been a struggle every year to fundraise as best we can for these scholarships,” Roland said. “The LCC Foundation has really done a great job to step up and help us with this every year.”

In years past, the athletic program was funded mainly by its Booster Club, which sells $200 annual memberships that include season tickets to home games and other gifts. But with increases in tuition, Roland said, the scholarships became too burdensome, and another source of funding became necessary.

This year, the Athletic Excellence Fund set a Give More 24! goal of $20,000, despite setting the same goal last year but failing to reach it. Roland said he still feels optimistic and that meeting their goal would take some of the pressure off the $100,000 the athletic program needs annually for scholarships and everyday expenses, such as equipment and travel to away games.

“The bulk does go to scholarships, that is our priority. Once we get our mandated scholarship level, there are always other things to fundraise for just to have a viable athletic program,” Roland said.

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Roland said part of his confidence for this year’s Give More 24! comes from a $5,000 pledge match promise from Buddy Black, the manager of the Colorado Rockies baseball team, who played his first two years of college baseball at LCC before going on to a 15-year run in the major leagues.

“He doesn’t forget his time as a Red Devil,” Roland said.

Roland is also confident because of the community’s existing support for LCC athletics, without which, things like the Booster Club and Athletic Excellence Fund would not be effective.

The reason we have a lot of Boosters that love to come to our games is because we put out a product that a lot of people can be proud of,” he said.

Roland also said the Athletic Excellence Fund will hold a reception on the day of Give More 24! — September 19 — at Shamrock Spirits and Grill, from 5-7 p.m. in order to thank donors and alumni. Roland said there will be snacks available and iPads on hand for anyone wanting to donate during the reception.

A full list of nonprofits participating in Give More 24!, as well as details about how to donate, can be found online at givemore24.org.

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