Blake Griffin shows how a financial gift to one’s alma mater can be an easy first step on the path of lifelong philanthropy
College is a formative time in a young person’s life, even more so for young athletes who are working towards both academic and athletic greatness. Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers has recognized the University of Oklahoma (OU) as having played an integral part in his development as a person and a player, and thus, has committed the largest gift ever made by a former OU basketball player. It will be put towards the High Performance Center addition near the basketball practice facilities. Though the amount of Griffin’s donation has not been disclosed, the total cost of the enhancements is about $7 million.
For athletes who are new to major giving or philanthropic endeavors, it can be difficult to narrow their focus. However, many who attended college have an affinity for their alma maters, and making a personal contribution can be a great way to become acclimated with the process of making a major gift. Griffin felt that a donation to a significant capital project would be the best way to impact future OU athletes, and thus decided that the Sooner athletic department would be an ideal beneficiary.
Griffin is not alone in this type of gift. Just last year, Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors donated $3.1 million to the Michigan State University men’s basketball program. Again, Green has an intimate connection with the school and the program that boosted his pro basketball prospects, and he wanted to give back to the program that gave so much to him.
Granted, not all professional athletes have such a fondness for their former colleges, but if they do, donating a sizable gift to the school is a solid entry point for lifelong philanthropic giving.
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