We interrupt previously schedule programming to mention something we should have gotten to a few weeks ago. Two really good people and diehard Bulls in Brandy and Jeff Fishman gave USF Athletics $1.45 million. Not to put the family name on things, and not from some corporate sponsorship and not some life insurance policy that will cash out in 50 years. And not just because they’re sports fans (though they are diehards), but because they believe in how athletics can benefit the larger mission of the university
“We all have to do our part, whatever that may be,” Jeff Fishman said when I texted him after his gift was made public. “Hopefully it will encourage others to follow suit. USF is worth investing in.”
Brandy (Class of ‘96) & Jeff (‘92) are the type of folks USF needs more of if the school is going to succeed athletically and academically. People that are invested in the school not just for the success they’ll have in sports, but also because of what it’ll do for the other parts of the school. Athletics is often talked about by development officers as the front door of the university, and it’s absolutely true; investing in the sports side can help raise the levels of research, development, and life-changing technologies that come to the campus.
The Fishmans have had many battles with cancer, and USF Health has been a far-too-large part of their lives for so long. Their son Noah was diagnosed with cancer at just 13-months (he’s happy and healthy today), and Jeff himself is also a survivor. They are active in the fight against cancer, and in fact made their first football road trip after winning a prize in an American Cancer Society auction. USF came back to win that day at Nevada in Reno, and they’ve been staples at basically every road game ever since.
I admit to my total bias here. These folks are my friends, and I can attest to how they support the school in so many ways. We run our volleyball team fundraisers through their foundation so you that donate can get tax receipts. Same thing we did for Seats for Soldiers. And we do that because we know Jeff will do anything he can to benefit his alma mater not just in sports, but in any department.
Jeff is also the first guy at meetings for our volleyball fundraising group, or a VIP event for women’s basketball, or in the seats at Corbett Stadium. He’s a part of this program not just for wins and losses, but for what it can do for the institution as a whole. In other words, for the right reasons.
We need more people like them. So if you see Brandy and Jeff, say thank you. And in turn, they’ll probably ask you to make a gift back to USF yourself. Because we’re not getting anywhere unless we’re all in this together.
USF needs 1000 Brandy Fishman’s. Though we could probably live with just one Jeff however.