Last year, Lowell Athletic Boosters gave $33,000 to sports programs within Lowell Area Schools. That equaled out to $39 for each of the 841 athletes who participated in funded and non-funded programs at the high school. However, it may be tough to match that amount this year.
“We lost out on roughly $15,000 in concession sales [by] not having spring sports,” says Ginger Noll, president of the Lowell Athletic Boosters.
Concessions sales are the only source of revenue for the non-profit, which is a registered 501(c)(3) organization. With the loss of spring concessions and attendance at fall and winter games restricted, Lowell Athletic Boosters is hoping an online auction will help them bridge the gap in their fundraising.
Running through November 14th, the online auction includes dozens of items ranging from gift cards to goodie bags to a handcrafted barn and toy tractor. Noll hopes the event will raise $10,000 to supplement athletic programs and minimize out-of-pocket costs for parents.
Keeping Sports Affordable in Lowell
Sports programs at Lowell Area Schools fall into two categories: funded and non-funded. The non-funded programs are also known as club sports. All programs charge a participation fee, which is typically $95, and all get a per-player stipend from the Lowell Athletic Boosters.
Funded programs may get additional support from the school district in the form of busing, uniforms and equipment. However, non-funded sports must pay for all their own expenses which makes the stipend from the boosters all the more important. The only restriction on boosters’ money is that it can’t be used for outside coaching. Otherwise, teams can use it to pay for event participation fees, transportation, equipment, uniforms or whatever other need they may have,
“The more money we can give them, the less they have to charge athletes to play,” Noll says. Non-funded sports at Lowell Area Schools include skiing, bowling and crew, among others.
“Our income is solely [from] concession sales,” Noll explains. “We have no other form of revenue.” There have been years in which the football team has packed 7,000 people into the stands for every home game, and in those years, the Lowell Athletic Boosters has been able to give teams as much as $100 per player. But with few people in the stands in 2020, it has become clear the organization needs to find another way to support student-athletes this year.
Auction Also Benefits Lowell Music Boosters
Back in June, members of the Lowell Athletic Boosters started planning for an auction. They set a November date, hopeful that the COVID-19 pandemic would have subsided to the point of allowing an in-person event at that time.
That didn’t happen as hoped, but volunteers have not been deterred. Instead of an in-person event, they shifted gears to a virtual auction. With dozens of items available, Noll would love to see the event net $10,000 for Lowell sports programs.
Knowing the Lowell Music Boosters was in a similar position of having lost revenue, Lowell Athletic Boosters invited them to join the auction. The music boosters will receive 100% of the proceeds from all items they have donated to the event as well as 10% of the rest of the proceeds. “They are hurting as much as we are,” Noll notes.
The response from donors has been phenomenal, according to Noll, and now she is hoping residents will likewise be generous in bidding on the available items. She says, “We’re just trying to support these kids in a way they deserve.”
Visit the online auction to view items and place your bids. The auction ends at 8pm on Saturday, November 14, 2020. Organizers have tentatively planned to be outside at the high school from 5-7pm on November 17, 18 and 19 for bidders to pick up their winnings. Large items, such as custom-made cornhole games, must be picked up from school, but smaller items such as gift cards may be shipped upon request.