Harvard has a substantial new endowment for their Men's ultimate program.
January 8, 2015 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 9 comments
Will Chen, a 2006 Harvard graduate and former Red Line captain, began to work towards creating an endowment in 2013. After an initial fundraising of $170,000, the endowment is now worth over $200,000.
“Harvard Ultimate has given me so much — the chance to play the sport I love and the chance to meet lifelong friends — so I welcomed the opportunity to give back,” Chen told Ultiworld. Over 150 people have donated to the fund that is managed within Harvard’s larger endowment, which has seen 12.3% annual growth over the last 20 years.
This year’s team (which includes both the A and B squads) has already taken out a $5,000 disbursement, used to help cut costs for players. All new players to the program — whether freshmen, transfers, or other rookies — did not have to pay anything out of pocket to play in the fall. That is a major goal of the endowment’s creators.
“We want to lower the monetary barrier to entry for new players,” said captain Wynn Tucker. “Whatever’s left over from that will go to the A and B teams to subsidize Spring expenses.”
Chen and other organizers put together a “Spirit of the Endowment” that includes tenets about the use of the funds each year. Deliberate and transparent use of any money were major components.
“I hope the endowment will encourage current and future captains to have a more long-term view of the program,” said Chen. “For example, the team is initially using the money to recruit more players by minimizing team dues for the Fall season. I also hope the endowment will encourage more high school ultimate players to take a more serious look at Harvard Ultimate and apply.”
Over the long term, Chen hopes that high costs will no longer deter players from playing on the team and that finances will be “taken out of the equation.”
The creation of the endowment shows the strength of the Harvard alumni connection to the current program. In recent years, graduating seniors have elected a “class captain” to serve as a liaison for that class; they were instrumental in fundraising for the endowment.
“The biggest thing the endowment stands for is community and alumni support,” said Tucker. “I can obviously attest to the strength of this program as a senior. But that’s probably reassuring for those coming into the program — this is obviously a strong community, maybe I should be a part of that.”