High Point, N.C. – NCAA Division II announced its Make-A-Wish fundraising totals for the 2014-15 academic year on Wednesday (Oct. 21) afternoon, with a record $605,248.21 being raised by 25 Division II conferences. Conference Carolinas ranked 17th with a total of $13,216.01 being raised by 11 of 12 member institutions.
Conference Carolinas recognizes the outstanding fundraising efforts by its Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC) by presenting three annual awards to the institutions that make the biggest impact. The awards are the MVP Award, Comeback Award and Top Play Award.
The MVP is given to the SAAC program that raises the most money for Make-A-Wish during the academic year. The 2014-15 MVP was presented to the University of Mount Olive, who raised a total of $2,715. In addition to MVP honors, The Trojans were among 36 NCAA Division II institutions chosen to host a Make-A-Wish wish reveal party for a wish kid.
The Comeback Award is presented to the SAAC program that makes the biggest increase in funds collected from the previous academic year. The 2014-15 Comeback Award was presented to Pfeiffer University after raising a $2,453.31, which was a $2,453.31 increase from the 2013-14 academic year.
The Top Play Award is presented to the institution with the single most lucrative campus event. The 2014-15 Top Play Award recipient was Limestone College, which raised a remarkable $1,199.45 during a 50/50 raffle at the second home football game of the season.
The NCAA Division II mission encourages a number of experiences by its student-athletes, with community engagement being one of the most paramount. In 2003, NCAA Division II institutions took that notion to heart and partnered with Make-A-Wish to help grant wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
This year, at the annual Conference Carolinas SAAC Retreat held in High Point, N.C., SAAC representatives were given the opportunity to meet the family of Abigail Hoyle, a Make-A-Wish Kid with the Central & Western North Carolina Make-A-Wish chapter. With the help of Make-A-Wish Development Coordinator Stephany McMillan, Abigail presented the 2014-15 Conference Carolinas SAAC Awards.
The Hoyle family then had the chance to share their gratifying experience with Make-A-Wish and the impact it has had and continues to have on their journey. Being part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation for the Hoyle family has opened many doors. During the four years the Hoyle family have been a part of Make-A-Wish, they described Make-A-Wish as a second family that warms them with hugs every time.
Each year at the conference SAAC retreat participants have the opportunity to learn about rules and regulations, student-athlete welfare, and community engagement. Members of SAAC enjoy having this time to collaborate on new ideas and piggyback off one another to enhance their athletic departments and campus relationship. One of the participants stated - “having Abigail at the retreat really put into perspective how the hard work in raising funds can impact children.” Noted by many participants, having the Hoyle family was the best and most rewarding part of the retreat.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Born in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 66 chapters in the United States and its territories.
With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 38 minutes and has granted more than 227,000 wishes in the United States since inception. For the first time ever, NCAA Division II raised over $600,000 in a single academic year for Make-A-Wish. Since the beginning of the sponsorship 12 years ago, Division II has raised just over $4.1 million, resulting in over 530 wishes being granted to deserving kids throughout the country.
Release written by Andrea Roca, Conference Officer
Conference Carolinas is a NCAA Division II athletics conference made up of 12 teams from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. These institutions consist of: Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Converse College, Emmanuel College, Erskine College, King University, Lees-McRae College, Limestone College, University of Mount Olive, North Greenville University, Pfeiffer University, and Southern Wesleyan University. Emmanuel College and Southern Wesleyan University are currently completing the NCAA Membership Process and will be fully competing in league championships in the near future.