Friends of Bates Athletics Prepares for Fourth Annual Giving Challenge


This May, Friends of Bates Athletics (FBA) will be holding its fourth annual spring giving challenge. FBA is a group of alumni, parents and other generous individuals dedicated to supporting the Bates Athletics Department. 

First started in 2018 by Associate Director of Bates Athletics Celine Cunningham, the fundraiser now spans over the course of three days each spring. Beyond this event, the finance office works year-round to raise money for all of the school’s athletic teams. 

The finance office sees the spring giving challenge as an opportunity for alumni, parents and fans of Bates teams to come together and rally around the commitment of Bates’ student athletes, with the goal of giving them the best possible experience. 

Last year’s event was a record-breaking success, and the finance office is planning to replicate this outcome in 2022. The office intends to imitate last year’s impressive stat of 3,000 unique donors and raise the dollar amount from 2021’s $444,000 to over $450,000.

In the entirety of 2021, the finance office was able to raise $900,000 for the athletics program, in addition to a host of other capital improvements, including a new ski room. All of this money gets put into the gift account of varsity and club teams to be spent throughout the following year.

The coaches are responsible for budgeting the money that their team acquired, so they are able to invest in whatever they choose. In conjunction with Athletic Director Jason Fein, coaches work to customize this budget to best support the team’s values and goals.

“It’s really all about the coaches’ message for their program,” Nina Emmi ’10 explained. Emmi has been working as the director of annual giving at Bates since 2018, and has worked alongside her coworker Meagan Norman to champion this fundraiser in particular. Emmi and Norman spend the months leading up to the challenge working alongside coaches to inspire excitement about the Bates Athletic programs.

“We really like to tell all of the great things that are happening on campus,” Emmi explained, in reference to fundraising strategies. “Our Bates athletes are special, and sharing their stories gets the alumni excited.”

Leading up to the challenge, the planning team works with all 31 varsity teams individually to best understand their respective goals. With this, many coaches will foster communication with their teams to understand how they can best use their annual budget to the team’s benefit.

Although each team has different aspirations and success rates with their fundraising, they all get equal bidding from the finance office. Emmi articulated that some teams have more ambitious fundraising strategies and stronger alumni networks, and they are thus able to turn more of a profit.

“Our goal really is to elevate the voices of the coaches and the student athletes,” Emmi explained. The athletics department is a huge part of the community here at Bates, with over half of the student body participating on a varsity or club team. The college is known for its strong and proud alumni network, and the vast success of this fundraiser proves this wholeheartedly. 

This year’s fundraiser will be held on May 3-6. See the Friends of Bates Athletics Website or @batescollege on Instagram for more information as the date approaches!