TCF Bank Stadium fundraising on track

A new fundraising initiative will involve alumni and residents in the process.

Andrew Cummins

With $10.5 million left to raise for TCF Bank Stadium, University officials are preparing to launch a statewide, grassroots fundraising effort that will complement current initiatives.

The campaign, which will kick off near the end of spring or early in the summer, will be the third stage of stadium fundraising, said David Crum, associate athletics director.

“We’ll be out trying to visit all 87 counties, reaching out to all living alumni,” Crum said.

But the campaign will also serve an educational purpose, Crum said.

“As much as anything, when we go out to all 87 counties, we want to share information with them and get them engaged and excited about the stadium,” he said.

The campaign will allow residents and alumni to take part in the stadium process, Phil Esten, associate athletics director, said.

“We’re putting a lot of effort into making sure that we give everybody that opportunity,” he said. “As we said before, this is not just an athletics asset; the stadium is a statewide asset.”

The counties’ names will be carved into the stadium’s exterior walls in recognition, according to a virtual tour.

In overall fundraising efforts, as of Feb. 29, the University had raised about $75 million of its $86 million goal, according to the University of Minnesota Foundation – a number Esten said he expected.

“I would say we are at or a little bit ahead of schedule when we looked at our overall fundraising plan,” he said.

Much of that total came from phase-one fundraising efforts, which included donations of more than $1 million from individuals and corporations, Esten said.

Those large donations have slowed, and fundraising for the project is currently in phase two, in which designated “captains” are in charge of collecting $100,000 from others.

Despite the move into the grassroots stage, Esten said other donations will still be accepted.

“As we move from phase two to phase three, we’ll continue to work with our captains, but really put a lot of effort into phase three,” he said.

Although officials are pleased with the current fundraising total, they expect to see an increase in activity connected with the stadium’s progress in coming months.

“We learned from (other schools) that once the stadium or the project becomes more tangible, you do start to see an increase in activity, whether it’s fundraising activity or ticket sales activity,” Esten said.