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NAADD Announces 2017 Awards Winners

Feb. 22, 2017

CLEVELAND - The National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) has announced the recipients of its 2017 Awards. Award winners are: NAADD Lifetime Achievement Award, Jane (Myers) Zwierlein, former assistant AD for development at Bowling Green State University; Fundraiser of the Year – University Division, David Crum, senior associate AD for development at Colorado State University; Fundraiser of the Year – College Division, Grant Kelly, senior associate AD/director of development at Johns Hopkins University; and Rising Star Award, Danielle Melman, assistant AD for external relations at University of California San Diego.

"On behalf of NAADD, I want to congratulate Jane, Danielle, David, and Grant on being named this year’s NAADD Award winners and for all of their impressive contributions to our industry," said NAADD President Josh Rebholz, Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations at the University of California, Los Angeles. "We are very excited to recognize their accomplishments at the upcoming NAADD Convention this June."

The award winners will be honored Wednesday, June 14, at the Learfield Directors’ Cup Luncheon, held in conjunction with the 52nd Annual NACDA & Affiliates Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida.



Lifetime Achievement Award

photo courtesy of USD

Jane (Myers) Zwierlein spent 28 years working at the collegiate level, with a majority in the athletics department. Zwierlein served as NAADD President in 2008-09 and made a significant difference at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) working in development. During her time inside the realm of collegiate athletics development, Zwierlein enjoyed remarkable success and achievement in advancing Falcon Athletics through fundraising efforts. One of her biggest accomplishments was her direct involvement in the efforts to save the Falcon Hockey program when there was uncertainty if the program was going to be able to continue. In addition, Zwierlein played a lead role in raising millions of dollars from generous alumni and was a key figure in securing a $20 million leadership gift from the late Bill Frack which greatly assisted in the construction of the University’s new arena and convocation center. Zwierlein made a tremendous impact on Falcon Athletics by creating engagement, passion, and interest from its fans and supporters.

“For countless alumni and friends of BGSU, Jane is the face of the University,” said BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey. “Her record of cultivating, soliciting and stewarding major gifts is second to none. She is simply a master of advancement work.”

Zwierlein’s work not only improved the student-athlete experience, but also the visibility of BGSU and created an industry standard.

Fundraiser of the Year – University Division

photo courtesy of USD

David Crum’s career includes over 25 years in ticket office, development, sport administrative and senior leadership roles at power five and group of five programs. Crum’s leadership over the past year has led to several successes for Colorado State University (CSU) Athletics’ development efforts. He finished a premium seating sales effort just 10 months after it launched that resulted in three-, five- and seven-year commitments from donors for four premium seating areas in CSU’s new on-campus football stadium. The donation value of the commitments alone is over $10 million. Crum, along with CSU leadership, had six-figure naming rights gifts secured, including a single $20 million anonymous naming-rights level gift. Additionally, athletics development hit an all-time single year record of $32 million raised in fiscal year 2016.

Since Crum has arrived at Colorado State, the athletics development program has transformed from a transactional based network of annual fund donors to a well-rounded donor base more philanthropic in nature and for whom major gifts are now the norm. Crum’s vision for what the donor base could aspire to be has come to fruition under his inspiring leadership. The number of donors when Crum arrived was 4,310 and has now grown to 7,026. Giving has climbed from $5.2 million to $32 million. In addition to the phenomenal fundraising success, Crum’s impact has been felt across the department and campus.

"David has done an excellent job crafting our development strategies and a first-class fundraising team," said Colorado State's Director of Athletics Joe Parker. "He has led an effort to gather the resources to help CSU fund a $220 million on-campus stadium while building on our overall efforts to meet our scholarship and other operating needs. It is wonderful to see David receive national recognition with this award from his peers."

Fundraiser of the Year – College Division

photo courtesy of USD

Grant Kelly joined Johns Hopkins Athletics in 2006 as the development coordinator. Since that time, he has held every position within the Blue Jays Unlimited (BJU) fundraising office and has overseen the organization since 2013. In his role, Kelly oversees the Johns Hopkins Athletics fundraising staff, the fundraising arm that provides support to all 24 Hopkins varsity intercollegiate sports programs. He is responsible for all major giving, including capital, endowment, scholarship, sponsorship, and annual-fund support. During his time with BJU, the organization has raised over $30 million and recently led a five-year campaign focused on capital improvements and new endowments for the department.

During this past year, Kelly launched a capital campaign to renovate the existing gym that is used for the men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and wrestling programs. Currently over $500,000 has been raised towards the $1,000,000 campaign goal, which will be completed this year. Additionally, Kelly launched a fundraising campaign to hire the department’s first ever full-time student-athlete academic advisor. He ran simultaneous fundraising campaigns to fund this position through current-use dollars for the next three years ($250,000) and to endow the position ($2,000,000) in perpetuity. The BJU Club raised over $1,172,217 from 2,104 donors, surpassing the previous annual giving record of $991,346 from 1,948 members in 2014-15.

“He has dedicated his life to the Hopkins athletics department, and is one of the most loyal and caring individuals I have ever worked with,” said former Johns Hopkins Athletics Director, Tom Calder.  “He deserves this recognition for all that he has done for Hopkins Athletics and athletics fundraising on the whole.”

Rising Star Award

photo courtesy of USD

Danielle Melman started at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) as the athletics program coordinator after eight years of sales and marketing experience in the private sector. Since joining UCSD, Melman was promoted to a newly created position as the assistant athletics director/external relations. In this position, Melman has led the Triton Athletic Fund (annual giving) efforts for all 23 UCSD varsity intercollegiate sport programs, adding structure and direction for alumni, parent, campus, and community engagement. This position was very much needed to build the pipeline of donors to UCSD Athletics along with engaging constituents. Under her management, the Triton Athletic Fund has increased 25 percent since fiscal year 2014 and is continuing to grow, showing great promise for a sustaining future. 

Alumni participation is the backbone of any university, and Melman has been able to bridge alumni athletes back to campus. Through collaboration with the alumni association, she has provided opportunities for all alumni of UC San Diego to engage with their alma mater on many different levels. This engagement includes participation on alumni panels, mentorship programs and alumni employer internship programs for student-athletes, ultimately motivating alumni to give back to their sports specific programs. Through collaboration with student-athletes, coaches and alumni, she managed the implementation and execution of sport-specific crowdfunding campaigns, raising $129,029 year-to-date for fiscal year 2017. Her efforts have produced an extremely impressive increase of 63 percent of alumni athlete annual giving participation.

About NAADD: NAADD is the first organization of its kind to provide educational and networking opportunities, enhancement of acceptable operating standards and ethics, and establishment of the overall prestige and understanding of the profession of athletics development and fund raising. For more information about NAADD, please visit www.naadd.com. NAADD is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 52nd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com