March/April, 2001: "Plaza of Influence: The AFCA's New Teammate"

by Mike Bourland
American Football Coaches Foundation

Courtesy: AFCA
Release: 03/01/2001

Since its introduction to The Extra Point last year, it has been the ongoing purpose of this column to introduce you to the American Football Coaches Foundation (the "Foundation"), demonstrate how it functions as a Special Team of the AFCA, and to encourage active involvement by all AFCA member-coaches in order to accomplish the goal of the Foundation. The goal of the Foundation is to provide financial support for the educational vision and purposes of the AFCA, including to replace lost revenue from two pre-season football games, the Pigskin Classic and the Kickoff Classic, which have been eliminated by the NCAA after 2002, and to provide supplementary support to AFCA. Because donations to the AFCA are not income tax deductible to the donor, the Foundation was formed to accept donations and raise funds to support the AFCA mission.

The Foundation is a publicly supported, tax-exempt entity. Contributions to the Foundation are income tax deductible to the donor. However, in order to maintain its favorable tax status, the Foundation must comply with IRS rules regarding its fundraising techniques and acceptance of contributions. A primary rule, as discussed in previous articles, is that the Foundation must receive at least one-third of its support from the general public, which includes AFCA member-coaches. Your support is needed on two levels: the Foundation needs support not only from your checkbook, but also through your activity and influence at your schools and in your communities. As an AFCA member-coach, you have been called upon to make a personal pledge or contribution, to help the AFCA meet its annual goal of $50 per AFCA member-coach as a contribution to the Foundation. In addition, previous articles have discussed various fundraising methods such as banquets and tournaments, and the IRS rules surrounding these types of fundraising activities with the hope that AFCA member-coaches will get involved in their communities and raise awareness for the Foundation. On behalf of the Foundation, thank you to all member-coaches who have made a contribution. In addition to personal monetary contributions, the Foundation needs your support by raising awareness with other coaches and in your communities and schools. Please take an active role in this regard, and include the Foundation as part of your thought process this Spring.

The new AFCA facility is now under construction in Waco. The Foundation is to have a very important role in the design of the new facility. Coach Teaff has introduced a very exciting addition to the new AFCA facility, the Plaza of Influence, which also presents an excellent opportunity for the Foundation. The planned Plaza of Influence presents a tremendous method for AFCA-member coaches, as well as the general public, to prominently honor a special football coach and to make a contribution to the Foundation. The Plaza of Influence will be a stone-lined plaza located at the AFCA facility. For a contribution to the Foundation of $200 you, or anyone within your sphere of influence, can have an inscription for, as well as a brief salute regarding, a special football coach imprinted on a stone. The stone honoring this special football coach will be used in the construction of the Plaza of Influence and will become a permanent focal point of the new AFCA facility. Visitors will be able to access a particular football coach through an on-site computer, and the computer will give directions to the brick bearing the coach's name. An additional feature is that in conjunction with your contribution, you can submit a letter about your special football coach describing how that coach influenced your life. The letter will be stored in the AFCA computer and will be available for viewing by visitors when they are visiting the AFCA facility.

Payment for each stone will be treated as a contribution to the Foundation and will be tax-deductible to the donor. As this article has discussed in previous issues of The Extra Point, the Foundation is a publicly supported charity and must receive at least one-third of its support from a broad cross-section of the general public. The Plaza of Influence is an excellent example of a fundraising technique that satisfies the IRS rules regarding public support and also has the potential to raise a significant amount of funds. As more donations come from the general public, the Foundation can receive greater amounts from wealthy individual donors, and their Foundations, without endangering the Foundation's favorable publicly supported tax-exempt status. Remember that every dollar that is contributed because of your active support in involving a large segment of your communities and schools opens the door for maximum benefit from larger donations.

Stone purchases are not limited to AFCA member-coaches, so spread the word to colleagues and friends. The purpose behind the Plaza of Influence is to demonstrate the impact that the football coaching profession has made, over time, to the lives of so many people. It is the opportunity for a special football coach's contribution to be forever remembered as part of the permanent AFCA facility, and will be available for future generations to appreciate.

Please continue to spread the word about the importance of the Foundation to the future success of the AFCA, and keep these fundraising techniques in mind as part of your game plan.

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“Coach George Smith is not only an influence on young people, but the influence is multiplied many times in the beliefs of the young people he helped mold into amazing human beings. George is an outstanding coach, but more importantly, he is an outstanding gentleman.” —Tina Jones, Principal of St. Thomas Aquinas High School