PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY CAL ROWING
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BERKELEY – The T. Gary and Kathleen Rogers Family Foundation*, in partnership with the Friends of Cal Crew – the fundraising and event-organizing arm of Cal men’s rowing, has announced a commitment of $10 million to the program. The family will continue its annual support of the program over the next 10 years and has offered a $5 million matching challenge which will provide a 1:1 match for every new gift or pledge to endowments benefiting Cal men’s crew. The gift comes on the heels of the program winning its second consecutive national championship, including a sweep of all four boat classes for the first time in program history. The national title marked the team’s 19th all-time, good for the second most in the country.
The Friends of Cal Crew was established in 1978 and consists of alumni, friends and families of the program. The goal of the organization is to work toward “Cal Crew Forever,” the idea of fully endowing men’s rowing at Cal. This gift contributes significantly toward achieving that vision.
“The dream started by the Friends of Cal Crew and taken on by Gary [Rogers] has always been ‘Cal Crew Forever.’ With the support of our alumni, led by the Rogers family, we’ve been able to have the elite program that we do,” Cal head coach Scott Frandsen said. “Having a matching pledge like this takes a significant step toward getting the program fully endowed. The goal has always been to ensure that this student-athlete experience, this life-changing experience, is possible for generations to come. The financial stability of the program is so important, and this pledge is set up to encourage other alums to get involved and to make significant gifts that will then be matched by the Rogers family, which is how Gary always wanted it to be.”
The T. Gary and Kathleen Rogers Family Foundation, started in 2003 by Gary, a well-known and successful local entrepreneur, and wife Kathleen “Cab” Rogers, has a long history of supporting the men’s rowing program, various departments at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and numerous initiatives aimed at positively transforming the educational experience of Oakland students. Beginning in 1986, Gary started an annual pledge to match the total dollars raised by the Friends of Cal Crew. In 2004, Rogers made a significant contribution to the group’s fundraising efforts that went toward the relocation and new construction renovation of the T. Gary Rogers Rowing Center, located on the Oakland Estuary. The facility provides office space for the coaches, a storage facility for boats and equipment and an event space for the program. Cab and son, Andy Rogers, have continued Gary’s vision of helping men’s rowing become the first fully endowed program in Cal history.
“This gift is part of the ongoing drive to get the program fully endowed,” Andy Rogers said. “We want Cal Crew to stick around forever. The value of a team sport like crew is in the life lessons learned beyond the races and the classroom. This is why my dad loved rowing so much. I rowed at Cal as well and value the lifelong friendships and lessons I learned during my time there.”
The Rogers family gift also contributes significantly toward the Campaign for Cal Athletics Excellence which is part of the overarching campuswide “Light the Way Campaign.” The Rogers commitment, which is the third-largest during the campaign, is helping Cal Athletics accelerate toward its goal of reaching $350 million by December.
“We are extremely fortunate for the support from the Rogers Family,” Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said. “This commitment represents an amazing partnership between the Rogers Family and Cal Athletics and reflects the passion the family has to support our student-athletes and Cal Crew program. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the back-to-back national championships and continued success of the program. We are incredibly grateful to the Rogers family.”