Fundraising can be an arduous task. On occasion, though, it happens naturally, and when it does, it's a beautiful thing — as Gophers baseball coach John Anderson can attest.
His baseball program announced recently that it had received a $419,000 gift from an anonymous donor.
"It was from a donor, a lifelong Gophers baseball fan," Anderson said. "Early in the 2000s, I used to see the guy at games. Finally we connected, and I got a call from him one day maybe eight or nine years ago. He indicated that he wanted to leave something in his will for the program. He was never married and had no children. He asked if I could hook him up with someone in the University Foundation, and I said absolutely.
"I had no idea what this guy was talking about in terms of money. I didn't ask how much it was, I just asked how he would like us to use it when the day comes — is there anything specific in his wishes. He said no, he wanted it to be at the discretion of the baseball coaches and however it could help the program. He was just a lifelong fan of the program and its impact."
Anderson said he would occasionally see the fan at games and chat with him but that he had "somewhat forgotten about" the fan's promise of a legacy gift until a few months ago, when Anderson found out the fan had died.
"I would have gone to the funeral, but I was at Flip Saunders' funeral. It was the same day, same time," Anderson said. "But I wrote back to the foundation and asked how much the gift was. I was curious. And it was $419,000. I just about fell over when I read my e-mail. It was quite an inspiring gift."
Anderson said $150,000 of the gift was used for renovating the Gophers locker room.
"We had an antiquated locker room with no security. Guys had a hard time getting things in and out of their lockers, which were from the 1970s," he said. "It's been a point of contention with me for a long time. And the kids are ecstatic about it. We did the renovation over [winter] break, and to see them when they came back, it lifted their world. They finally have something that's special and that's for them.
"It's a place where we can really grow our culture. Players are living all over the place, and it's a place where they're in there more, they're spending time together. It's not the Taj Mahal by any means, but it's functional."