University of Central Missouri: ‘Match Madness’ Generates Support for UCM Student-Athletes

The University of Central Missouri held its first-ever “Match Madness” day of giving March 22 to raise funds for UCM Athletics. Mules and Jennies sports teams faced off in a friendly competition for a share of the matching gift donated by generous alumni and friends.


The Mulekickers, UCM’s dance squad, had an early lead heading into the challenge and finished in the Top 3, garnering $1,000 of the $7,000 matching gift. Jennies Volleyball came in second, securing $2,000, and Jennies Softball took away the lion’s share as the Match Madness Champion, with $4,000 going to support their team.


At the end of the day, a total of 988 donors from 33 states and the District of Columbia had given $47,448 for UCM Athletics. Fans were able to give to the teams of their choice through UCM’s crowdfunding site, where they could also see a U.S. map showing where donations were coming from and how teams were ranking in the leaderboard.


“MuleNation sent a resounding message from all corners of the U.S.: we support our Mules and Jennies student-athletes,” said Tyler Habiger, director of annual giving for the UCM Alumni Foundation. “While the theme of friendly competition was present to inspire many to give, we were humbled by so many first-time donors, alumni, faculty and staff, current and former student-athletes and their families who let their support be known through their contributions. Every donor, regardless of their gift amount, made a difference during Match Madness.”


The March 22 event included a “Madness Hour” fund drive hosted by Olivia Olson, a junior majoring in kinesiology and a member of the Jennies Volleyball team. Olson interviewed coaches, student-athletes and staff members from UCM Athletics and the UCM Alumni Foundation while thanking donors in real time for their support on Facebook Live. Two donors who made their first gift to UCM on this day of giving were each awarded the First-Time Donor Challenge bonus of $500 going to the team of their choice. Four other donors who shared about the event on social media received an additional $250 each for their selected teams. These additional gifts were made possible by Randy Rahe, a 1977 UCM alumnus, and Nola Rahe, a longtime Mules and Jennies supporter.


The $7,000 matching gift commitment was made by these generous couples: Mike Harding, a 1973 alumnus, and Carlotta Franklin-Harding; Ken Kempker, a 1986 alumnus, and Kim Kempker; and Ron Umphenour, a 1976 alumnus, and Ann Umphenour, an alumna from the class of 1975.


“Thank you to the Hardings, Kempkers, Rahes and Umphenours for believing in our vision and setting the stage for each of our 988 donors to support our Mules and Jennies,” said Billy Ukrazhenko, director of development for the UCM Alumni Foundation. “Gifts of any amount help our coaches and staff build champions on and off the court. Private support is critical to enabling our student-athletes to continue excelling at the highest levels of collegiate athletics. Thank you for believing in our vision.”

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