Illinois gets another seven-figure donation

Illinois gets another seven-figure donation

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois set an initial fundraising goal of $30 million for what is now the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center. A $2.5 million donation for the new facility announced Wednesday by Illinois brings the DIA within striking distance of that target. That gift by real estate investment company CA Ventures brings Illinois' fundraising efforts to $28.175 million.

Urbana native and Illinois alumnus Tom Scott founded CA Ventures in Chicago in 2004. His investment company's international portfolio includes $8 billion in assets throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America. His wife, Julie, is also an Illinois grad and serves on the executive committee of the board for the Gies College of Business Alumni Association.

"As a real estate investor that has completed numerous developments across the country – many in college towns like Champaign – CA Ventures has a keen appreciation for what it takes to finance and build meaningful projects like the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center," Scott said in a release. "We are honored to help the University realize its vision for one of the most advanced sports training facilities in the country. This new centerpiece of the football program will support the recruitment and advancement of top student-athletes for years to come."

Illinois has received nearly two dozen private donations to its latest football facility project to offset the total $79.2 million cost.

"Tom and Julie have been incredibly generous and committed members of the Illini Family, and today's gift illustrates their strong passion for, and loyalty to, their alma mater," Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said. "They see the bigger picture of how a successful athletic program – and, in particular, a successful football program – can raise the overall profile of our University, leading to a more vibrant, talented, and resourceful institution. We can't thank them enough for their belief in how we're building this football program and their willingness to provide the resources needed to be successful at the highest level."