To learn how you can support Texas A&M's student-athletes through the 1922 Fund, please call the 12th Man Foundation Major Gifts staff at (979) 260-7595.
In August 2015, the 12th Man Foundation unveiled a fundraising effort to endow scholarship support for all student-athletes at Texas A&M. The project, dubbed the 1922 Fund in honor of the year E. King Gill stood ready in support of his school during a time of need, spurred immediate interest from a number of dedicated Aggie athletics supporters.
One of the first to step forward was Steve Brauer of Fort Worth. His generosity was noticeable, as he became the first 12th Man Foundation donor to endow a 1922 Fund scholarship specifically for the baseball team. Brauer's gift also elevated him into a small group of graduates from the 2000s who have created an endowment for athletics.
A mechanical engineering graduate from the Class of 2002, Brauer hopes his gift might help motivate other young Aggies to become involved with the 12th Man Foundation at an appropriate level.
"Many of us wait until later in life to start thinking about giving back to our school," Brauer said. "But, because of our size, younger classes are in a position to make a great impact--even through small gifts--if more of us get involved."
Brauer started his involvement with A&M athletics early in his college career, striking up a friendship with Heisman Trophy winner John David Crow '58. A chance meeting with the Aggie legend led to a relationship that lasted throughout Brauer's time in College Station.
"Mr. Crow was one of my mentors at A&M," recalled Brauer. "His door was always open to come talk about Aggie football and hear stories from his time in school. Seeing his lifelong dedication to Aggie athletics is a big part of what motivated me to get involved."
While he has been a season ticket holder at Kyle Field since the day he graduated, one of Brauer's true passions is A&M baseball. He admits his playing career in high school did not amount to much, but the spirit around Olsen Field kept his affinity for the sport strong. During college, Brauer spent many weekends watching games with friends from their perch in Aggie Alley, formerly located behind the outfield wall at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Brauer's generosity toward the program has not gone unnoticed by head coach Rob Childress.
"Our program has been the centerpiece of a number of gifts from many 12th Man Foundation donors, and that support has helped us in many ways," said Childress, whose team is ranked in the national top five in several preseason polls. "It's all-encompassing, and these donors have afforded us a chance to be one of the top programs in the country. Somewhere around 90 percent of our players benefit from the scholarship support they receive from Texas A&M. It makes a difference, and anytime a donor supports us by endowing a scholarship, we get better as a program."
Brauer's example of support does not stop with athletics. He has also serves on the Department of Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board and has endowed a faculty fellowship in the department. He also established a permanent Aggie Ring Scholarship through the Association of Former Students, which helps students with financial need acquire an Aggie Ring.
With A&M seeing a significant demographic shift in the age of its graduates, Brauer is one of the pioneers in an anticipated wave of younger donors who desire to be more involved.
"Steve represents a younger generation of Aggie graduates, and he is leading the way in supporting Aggie athletics," said Brady Bullard, vice president of major gifts at the 12th Man Foundation. "His financial support has made a strong impact on the success of our programs not just now, but for years to come.
"The 1922 Fund represents a donor's ability to permanently endow a student-athlete scholarship. These vital scholarship dollars have an impact now, next year, and for many generations to come. Endowments such as Steve's will help many student-athletes obtain a degree from Texas A&M."
To learn how you can support scholarships for Texas A&M student-athletes, please call the 12th Man Foundation Major Gifts staff at (979) 260-2398.
To those who support student-athletes by giving, I want to say thanks and gig 'em.
Without them, many young people who aren't financially stable or can't provide an education for themselves have a great opportunity. It makes A&M a better place."