Boise State’s Blue Collar Fundraising Club Opens

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Members of the Blue Collar Club of Boise State gather at Paddles Up Poke in downtown Boise earlier this month. The club has about 90 members and has raised about $15,000 this year to fund scholarships for the athletes.

When people think of donations to college athletic programs, they think of large sums of money – an individual or company that can afford to give enough to have a building, stadium or training facility named after them. .

Boise State’s Blue Collar Club is trying to change that.

The Blue Collar Club is a grassroots approach to fundraising, with many donors giving as little as $10 a month, and Boise State athletic director Jeramiah Dickey said it has the potential to be the foundation of his long-term vision for the athletic department. .

“I would rather have 10,000 people give me a dollar than just one person give me $10,000,” Dickey told the Statesman. “It doesn’t take much to make a difference, but it will take a team. Whether it’s a dollar or $100 million, it’s going to take everyone. »

The Blue Collar Club is the brainchild of Boise State alumnus Joel York. He said he felt helpless watching his alma mater struggle to generate income during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, so he decided to do something about it.

York wanted to find a way for people without trust funds or huge bank accounts to give back to Boise State without risking their life savings. So he contacted the Bronco Athletic Association last August and got the ball rolling.

“If you bring a group of people together, you can make quite a force if you push them all in one direction,” York said. “It’s a great feeling to know that you’re giving directly to the school, supporting all sports, and making a difference in the lives of student-athletes with $10 a month.”

Donations from Blue Collar Club members average between $15 and $20 a month, York said. Members are encouraged to donate at least $10 per month, but some donate more than $100. All the money goes to scholarships that pay for an athlete’s tuition, room and board, books and more.

York – who grew up in Boise, graduated from Boise State in 2001 and now lives in Boston – said the Blue Collar Club’s original goal was to raise $41,000 to cover an athlete for one year. The average annual cost per athlete increased to $44,692, according to the BAA website.

The Blue Collar Club has raised approximately $16,000 so far this year. It had 18 members and raised around $4,700 by the end of August, but 63 new members joined and the group raised over $10,000 in November alone. The club currently has about 90 members.

“It’s been a rewarding experience to see so many people wanting to get involved,” York said. “That $10,000 basically covered an athlete’s tuition for a year, and we eliminated that in a month.”

The Blue Collar Club got a big boost in November thanks to a creative campaign centered around Boise State’s senior night football game against New Mexico. Members have pledged donations for everything from touchdowns to tackles from safety JL Skinner to appearances by Blitz the starting dog. The club raised $3,431 from that game alone.

“People want to find creative ways to give, and that’s fun,” York said. “That’s what the previous models lacked where you gave $100 a year and got a card and that was it.”

Blue Collar Club members can stay engaged throughout the year by submitting questions for Q&As with former Boise State athletes, the most recent of which featured former offensive linemen Austin Dixon and Nick Crabtree. The club also sponsored a party ahead of Boise State’s home win over New Mexico and recently hosted a meet-and-greet party at Paddles Up Poke in downtown Boise.

“We’re growing a nice little community of people who give their money and their time,” York said. “It was a labor of love. We try to make an impact and a difference, and every dollar counts.

To join Club Col Bleu, go to bluecollarclub.org and complete the donation form. After an annual donation of $25, members are also eligible to join the Bronco Athletic Association, which offers benefits such as reserved parking spots for football and basketball games, and top priority for tickets to regular and post-season games, depending on the amount donated.

The BAA recently announced its Horsepower Membership Campaign, with a goal of reaching 10,000 members by 2025. That’s a lofty goal, considering the BAA has just over 4,200 members now, but Dickey said Boise State isn’t known for turning away from high expectations.

“I expect us to go higher than that,” Dickey said. “But we have to start somewhere, and the Blue Collar Club is really going to help fill our pipeline and create those opportunities to positively impact the community and student-athletes.”

BOISE STATE VS. CENTRAL MICHIGAN

What: Sports Arizona Bowl Bar Stool

When: Noon Mountain Time December 31

Or: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona

TV: The game will be streamed for free on all Barstool Sports platforms.

Recordings: Boise State 7-5, 5-3 MW; Michigan Central 8-4, 6-2 MAC

Series: Boise State is 2-3 against Central Michigan, but the teams haven’t played since 2001. The Broncos won games in 2000 and 2001.

Vegas Line: Boise State by 9

This story was originally published December 8, 2021 5:00 a.m.

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Ron Counts is the Boise State football beat writer for the Idaho Statesman. He’s from Virginia and covered James Madison University and the University of Virginia before joining the Statesman in 2019. Follow him on Twitter: @Ron_BroncoBeat

Elizabeth J. Harless