The news arrived just before the formal program for the Chippewa Challenge started at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.
As 450 golfers enjoyed a meal and bid on silent auction items to support the eighth annual Central Michigan Athletics fundraiser, emcee Adam Jaksa stepped to the stage.
“For the first time in the history of the Chippewa Challenge, a donor has generously stepped forward with an offer to match, dollar for dollar, the net profit from this event,” Jaksa said.
Dick Enberg, a distinguished alum (1957) of Central Michigan University, a CMU Athletics Hall of Famer and national honorary campaign chair, and his wife, Barbara, teamed with CMU College of Science and Engineering distinguished alum, attorney and venture investor Todd Anson (CMU 1977) and his wife, Terri (CMU 1974), to make the gift.
They said they made the matching gift as a way of welcoming incoming Director of Athletics Michael Alford and his wife, Laura, to CMU.
The result: A record-shattering night for the Chippewa Challenge.
Alford, who is leaving his position as the senior associate AD for administration and development at Oklahoma to start at CMU on July 3, was moved by the matching Chippewa Challenge gift, which will go toward the football program.
“As I said at the Chippewa Challenge, there is so much pride among the alumni of Central Michigan,” Alford said. “The Chippewa Challenge and this inspired gift from the Enbergs and Ansons is a way to link that pride to the superior overall student-athlete experience at CMU.”
The Chippewa Challenge, helped by a new online silent auction process that allowed people from around the country to participate, raised $240,000 with the addition of the matching gift. For its history, the tournament now has raised more than $1 million.
"CMU offered two nobodies like Todd and me the chance to become somebodies," Enberg said. "We want to lead by example by dynamically changing the culture around raising capital at CMU. Unless alumni give back, the quality or educational experiences at CMU are at risk. Stability and growth require financial strength. Excellence drives our lives. It drives CMU, too."
CMU Vice President of Advancement Robert Martin said when donors are inspired to give back, it makes visions, such as a north end zone project at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, a reality. This capital project positions our football program for success for years to come, and we are extremely grateful the Enbergs and Ansons supported it through this matching gift.
“Students often say they come to CMU because it feels like home,” Martin said. “We work with alumni and friends of the university to show that once you are part of the Chippewa family, you’ll always feel welcome.”
For information on how to make a gift or create a match, call Robert Martin at 989-774-7161 or Brian Brunner at 989-854-9025.