Coach Kelly makes $250,000 gift to Notre Dame, issues “challenge” to supporters

Author: Julie Hail Flory

Coach Brian Kelly

University of Notre Dame Head Football Coach Brian Kelly and his wife, Paqui, have made a $250,000 gift to the University in support of endeavors in research, academics and community engagement.

The benefaction will directly support three Notre Dame initiatives – cancer research, the Hesburgh Libraries and the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC).

“Paqui and I have decided to partner with the Notre Dame Annual Fund and make this gift to the University in support of some of the programs that are important to us on a personal level,” Coach Kelly said. “It reflects our commitment to seeing Notre Dame succeed, on and off the gridiron.”

In the area of cancer research – the fight against breast cancer is a deeply personal cause for the Kelly family – the gift will benefit the Mike and Josie Harper Cancer Research Institute, set to open this summer in Notre Dame’s new Harper Hall. The institute will bring together scientists from Notre Dame and Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend to collaborate to advance basic and clinical research as it pertains to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer.

The gift also will provide financial support for the Hesburgh Libraries, which consist of the main Hesburgh Library and 11 subject branches across campus.

The funding will enable senior library personnel to identify and purchase the learning and teaching materials most in demand by Notre Dame scholars.

At the RCLC, the gift will underwrite innovative tutoring, violence-prevention, youth entrepreneurship and performing arts projects for adults and children in South Bend’s Northeast Neighborhood. Sponsored by Notre Dame in partnership with local residents, the RCLC serves an estimated 500 youths and adults each week, in addition to another 8,000 children annually through its outreach programs.

In conjunction with the gift, Coach Kelly is launching the “Coach Kelly Challenge,” an effort that aims to encourage all members of the Notre Dame family to offer financial support to the University through one of its annual giving programs: the Notre Dame Annual Fund, the MBA and Law School annual funds, and the Rockne Heritage Fund.

“I am proud to be the caretaker of the Notre Dame football program because of the uniqueness of the Notre Dame mission; a faith-based education with excellence in academics, athletics and service,” Coach Kelly said in issuing the challenge. “Notre Dame is changing the world through great discoveries in research, by educating the leaders of tomorrow and by improving our local communities. I ask you to join me in supporting Notre Dame to show your own passion for what matters to you.”

Coach Kelly has set an initial challenge goal of 2,500 new or renewed donors to Notre Dame in time for the Sept. 4 football season opener against Purdue. All donors who respond to the challenge will receive a signature Kelly green Notre Dame monogram lapel pin. Coach Kelly’s gift, as well as all those which support this challenge, will be included in the $1.5 billion “Spirit of Notre Dame” campaign. Concluding on June 30, 2011, the campaign is the largest such endeavor in the history of Catholic higher education.

For more information or to step up to the challenge, please visit