Coinciding with the release of the film “My All American,” the Longhorn Foundation for Texas Athletics launched its first ever crowdfunding campaign to fully endow the Fred Steinmark Fund.
According to a UT press release, the film “My All American” tells the story of undersized Freddie Steinmark, who was offered a scholarship by Coach Darrell K Royal, and went on as starting safety for the 1969 national champion football team. After UT’s victory against No. 2 Arkansas, a cancerous tumor was found in Steinmark’s left thigh. Steinmark’s leg had to be amputated, but he returned to the sidelines on crutches to support his team during the Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame, where the Longhorns defeated Notre Dame 21-17. Two years later, Steinmark passed away in Houston.
“The goal of the scholarship is to highlight Freddie’s characteristics of perseverance, teamwork and dedication that are emphasized in UT athletics,” Julie Frey, assistant communications manager for UT Athletics, said. “We want to bring the story to more people and inspire others through his life.”
Crowdfunding through the Steinmark Fund website began Sept. 9, and will continue through the end of December. Donors receive memorabilia for $50, $250, $1,000 and $2,500 contributions, but there are otherwise no guidelines for donations.
“Crowdfunding is a great avenue for everyone to be involved in the Steinmark legacy,” Ashley Winning, director of development campaigns and communication, said. “Any gift makes a difference. We want to be able to give back to the athletes who work so hard to represent this school.”
The Steinmark Fund was the first ever endowment established by Texas Athletics. The current market value of the fund is $87,000. With crowdfunding, Texas Athletics aims to expand the fund to its full capacity of $775,000, which will provide a full scholarship to a Texas athlete every year.
The scholarship will be awarded yearly to any UT athlete who exhibits the strength, determination and loyalty that Steinmark exhibited during his UT football career.
“From his small size to his cancer diagnosis, Freddie always embraced the challenges that came his way rather than running away from them or using them as an excuse.” radio-television-film freshman Trevor Stiff, who attended UT’s advanced screening of the film, said. “He never gave up. Freddie’s life inspires anyone, student or athlete, to build their own path for success.”