Alumni weekend raises $350,000 for charity

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The final score wasn’t close and the defense left plenty to be desired, but the final numbers said it all: $350,000.

Using the inaugural UK Alumni Charity Game as their springboard, John Calipari, the University of Kentucky and its former basketball stars raised $350,000 for charity on Saturday at Rupp Arena. Coupled with ticket sales and the help of the John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience, UK was able to make sizeable donations to seven different organizations.

The organizations and donation amounts included:

  • $110,000 to the West Liberty Recovery Fund, a fund dedicated to helping the tornado victims of the Eastern Kentucky town
  • $60,000 to 4 Paws for Ability, which provides service dogs to military veterans
  • $55,000 to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which helps provide hearing aids for children
  • $50,000 to the EverFi Financial Literacy program, which teaches students across Kentucky the importance of money management
  • $25,000 to Samaritan’s Feet, which provides shoes for the needy
  • $25,000 to the Urban League of Lexington, which assists African Americans and disadvantaged citizens in Lexington in the achievement of social and economic equality
  • $25,000 to the V Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to saving lives by helping find a cure for cancer

Calipari and former players handed out six of the seven checks to the various organizations at halftime of Saturday’s game.

The idea for this weekend’s alumni festivities was to bring back former players and make them feel a part of the Kentucky family once again, but charity was at the heart of the game. Calipari told the crowd of 10,173 on hand that he hopes to raise $1 million next year.

Part of the proceeds was formed at an impromptu auction Calipari held at his house Friday night. Auctioning off experiences like serving as an assistant coach for a day, court-side seats at a Charlotte Bobcats game with Calipari and a suite for the first Kentucky game of the year at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Calipari and Co. raised approximately $128,000 in 20 minutes.

Donations could exceed $350,000 after UK tallies its final ticket sale numbers, UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said.