Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Home Run Heroes: Truist program gives $100 to Developing Neighborhood Athletes fund for each Texas softball home run

Skyler Sharp

Home runs can not only make an impact on the outcome of a softball game, but also on the community. 

With every home run hit during Texas softball’s season, Truist Bank donates $100 to the Developing Neighborhood Athletes, or DNA, Fund as a part of its Hook ‘Em’s Community Heroes program.

In the program’s debut in 2023, Texas softball raised $5,200 for the DNA Fund. This year, it has already raised $5,400 with seven games remaining in the regular season. 

The DNA Fund was launched in December 2020 by student athletes across all Texas sports in the University of Texas Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to support youth sports in local underserved communities. 

“Sports have shaped us into the people we are today and have given us so many opportunities,” said former SAAC President and volleyball player Logan Eggleston. “We want to use the platform that sports has given us to give back to the youth in our community and create these amazing opportunities in sports for them.”

About one year after the fund was launched, Truist was signed as a corporate sponsor by Longhorn Sports Properties, a division of Learfield sports marketing company. As part of the contract, a six-month deal was carved out for community engagement. 

“[Truist] wanted to be able to engage with the Austin community in a way that was organic and that could be used through athletics,” Coordinator of Partnership Services at Longhorn Sports Properties Eddie Tibontchou said. “We came up with Hook ‘Em’s Community Heroes program.”

The program that won Tibontchou and his team an award for Learfield’s best Cutting Edge Partner Innovation is composed of two parts: calling attention to causes that are important to student athletes and donating to the DNA fund for athletic achievements in women’s sports. 

Every month, Truist recognizes two student athletes based on the time and energy they spend supporting causes in their communities by donating $500 to the athlete’s nonprofit of choice along with the contribution for women’s sports. 

“[Truist] wanted to engage with women’s sports and Texas’ female sports program is one of the best in the country, if not the best in the country, not only in terms of performance, but also in terms of helping the community and giving back,” Tibontchou said. “It would’ve been easy to do a donation for every touchdown, but it’s a way for them to get their name out there and it’s also a way to promote women’s sports here in Texas and across the country.”

Each goal in soccer is a $100 donation as well, a volleyball ace is a $25 donation and a women’s basketball three-pointer is a $33 donation. In 2022-23, the money from women’s athletics combined for a $20,493 donation from Truist to the DNA fund. 

In total, Truist donated $28,493 to 14 different non-profits important to Texas student athletes and the DNA fund in 2023. 

With high-level performances across Texas women’s sports this year, the DNA fund looks to make an even bigger donation than last year.

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