$1 Million Orange Krush Gift Earns Name on SFC Club
Feb. 28, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, IL - The Orange Krush has made a name for itself through its leadership and innovation as one of the nation's premiere student support groups. The University of Illinois is excited to announce the Krush are continuing their leadership away from the court with a $1 million gift to the State Farm Center to name the Orange Krush Club.
"It's certainly an honor to have the Orange Krush support the renovation of State Farm Center in such a significant way," said UI Director of Athletics Mike Thomas. "The ultimate goal of this awesome student group is philanthropy. And, in doing so, they add enormous energy and spirit to the game-day experience for everyone at State Farm Center. The Orange Krush name and their passionate support are both synonymous with the Fighting Illini, so their gift is truly fitting and sincerely appreciated."
Founded in 1975 by Illini coaching legend Lou Henson and alums Alan Solow ('76) and Peter Korst ('76 & '78), Orange Krush has become an integral part of the game atmosphere for men's basketball. With the formation of the student-run Krush Foundation in 1998, the organization started on a path that would take them to unprecedented levels.
From its inception, the goal of the foundation has been to enhance the impact the Orange Krush has on the University and State of Illinois communities. Members of Krush solicit pledges based on the number of 3-point baskets the Illini team will make in the coming year. Over the past 16 years, the Krush Foundation has contributed an astonishing $2.7 million to local and national charities including the Cunningham Children's Home, Eastern Illinois Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, and the Special Olympics Illinois. The Krush has also provided significant aid to Illinois Athletics and Illini student-athletes through the Matthew Heldman Memorial Scholarship Fund, Rod Cardinal Sports Medicine Fund, Louis and Dawn M. Weber Student Manager Enhancement Fund, and the Lou Henson Coaching Endowment Fund.
As an iconic, multi-purpose facility, very few projects have the impact on both the University and the Central Illinois communities like the Illinois Renaissance for the State Farm Center. The renovation will also have a direct impact on the Orange Krush as the number of available floor seats for students will nearly double and the new club area will provide additional perks for its members. The Krush anticipate the changes will provide a significant growth in their membership resulting in an increase in the funds they will be able to raise for charity.
"Orange Krush and the Orange Krush Foundation are extremely excited to be a part of the State Farm Center Renovation," said McKennon Biers and Ryan Gant, Krush Foundation board members. "The renovated arena will not only be a new place to play basketball, but will also solve a long-standing need for space by providing a new home for our organization in the form of the "Orange Krush Club." Orange Krush members will benefit from this new space during the exciting time leading up to each and every home game. Our members and the community will also benefit throughout the year as we will use the space to host numerous Orange Krush functions, including an increasing number of charitable events. During the games, the renovated State Farm Center will provide us with more seats and amenities that will allow us to grow the Orange Krush membership base. This will lead to a stronger Orange Krush impact in the community, more dollars allocated towards local organizations, and of course, an increasingly exciting experience at Illinois basketball games for team and fans alike. We could not be more excited about this opportunity to grow as an organization by striving towards our mission to support `Students, Campus, and Community.'"
"To our knowledge, no other student-run organization or foundation in the country has had such a wide-ranging impact and of a magnitude similar to that of the Orange Krush," said UI Varsity "I" Director Chris Tuttle. "We're not just talking about a comparison with student-cheering sections. It's unheard of for any student organization to have accomplished everything the Krush has been able to do. The Krush members have consistently and unselfishly strived for new ways to make the world around them a better place. It's a great lesson for all of us. The community, the University and Illinois Athletics owe them a huge debt of gratitude. They are true to their motto with their service to society."
For more information on the Krush Foundation and the ways to support their organization please contact Illini Pride's Vice President - Orange Krush Ryan Gant at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit IlliniPride.com.
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