DUF’s Annual Fund Drive aligns with #GivingTuesdayNow

The #GivingTuesday tradition has been an integral part of Northwestern State athletics for a handful of years.

In the midst of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, non-profit organizations will be the beneficiaries of the recently created #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving set for May 5.

For the Northwestern State Athletic Department, #GivingTuesdayNow will align with kickoff for the Demons Unlimited Foundation’s Annual Fund drive, which carries the ‘All In” theme for 2020-21.

“These are indeed challenging times, which makes all of us in the NSU Athletic Department even more appreciative of the past support we have received and for the positive impact it has had on our student-athletes and coaches,” said Director of Athletics Greg Burke. “Looking ahead to the 2020-21 year, we are hopeful for a financial climate that will enable alumni, friends and former student-athletes to continue supporting the Demons Unlimited Foundation.”

Burke’s emphasis on the importance of the upcoming annual fund drive may never have more meaning than now as Division I athletic administrators across the country, including those in the Southland Conference and in Louisiana, grapple with the challenge of continuing to financially support their student-athletes during uncertain fiscal times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most notably, the NCAA Division I Council’s decision to award an extra year of eligibility to spring sports student-athletes added a six-figure line item to NSU’s 2020-21 operating budget to cover the cost of those extra scholarships. The NSU athletic department also anticipates a decrease in funding from the NCAA and state of Louisiana.

“We have always operated ‘leaner and meaner’ than most others and have still found a way to be very competitive. While the immediate future will be challenging, we will approach revenue generation for the coming year with positivity and enthusiasm,” added Burke.

As always, the focus and beneficiary of Demons Unlimited Foundation support will be NSU’s nearly 400 student-athletes.

“NSU has provided me the opportunity to train and compete at the highest level,” said track and field senior Jasmyn Steels. “Becoming a (2019) national champion in the long jump was a dream come true, and now I’m turning my eyes toward training for next season and the now 2021 Olympics to follow. I am ‘all in’ to return to NSU for my final season next year and plan to graduate with my master’s degree in May 2021.”

The DUF is Northwestern State’s non-profit organization that helps fund scholarships and support for all 14 of the athletic department’s Division I programs. In addition to scholarship monies, the DUF supports facility enhancements, recruiting efforts and more for Northwestern State Athletics. Donations to the

DUF entitle donors to such perks as VIP tickets, VIP parking (at football and basketball games) and VIP access at Northwestern State sporting events while aiding Demon student-athletes in competition.

“Winning a championship at NSU meant everything to me,” said Lenni Kunert, a member of the Demons’ 2018 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament champions. “The support from the Demon family made that championship possible. We are so thankful for our supporters being ‘all in’ with us.”

Former track and field student-athlete Dr. Haley Taitano was once the beneficiary of private support from alumni, friends and former student-athletes and is confident that the generosity of those individuals in the past can be sustained, in addition to adding new donors to the roll.

“We have participated in the Giving Tuesday movement for the last five years, and every year, our supporters have stepped up more and more to ensure we reach our goals,” said Taitano, now NSU’s associate athletic director for external affairs. “The Giving Tuesday Now initiative syncs up perfectly with our 2020-21 annual fund drive, so we are excited to participate again in this fashion. We are confident our supporters will once again show us how Demon Nation responds to adversity by donating May 5 and going ‘all in’ with us.”

For more information on the global initiative #GivingTuesdayNow, log onto https://now.givingtuesday.org. To donate to the Demons Unlimited Foundation on May 5, simply Text DEMONS to 71777 or visit nsudemons.com/unlimited. Donors who pledge $100 or more on May 5 will be given an “All In Natchitoches” T-shirt, which remain on sale at Posey’s Sporting Goods through Friday.