The memorial fund has received a 501(c)(3) status which means that all donations are tax deductible and other tax exempt organizations can donate to the fund. The fund can only donate monies to non-profit organizations.
The Mari-Rae Sopper Memorial Fund is now a proud sponsor of the College Bound Invitational which will be held on an annual basis. The first ever meet was held in Oklahoma City May 17, 18 and 19, 2002. There were approximately 190 high school women juniors and seniors registered to compete. College coaches attended in order to scout these gymnasts for their teams. Mari-Raes sister Tammy and mother Marion were at the meet to present medals to the winners. All publicity will list the Mari-Rae Sopper Gymnastics Memorial Fund as a sponsor.
The University of California at Santa Barbara has turned down our offer of $75,000 and a continuation of fund raising events. (Their alumni had also pledged over $40,000 to save the gymnastics program) I really feel that it is the University's loss and hope that the team members find another university where they can continue their education and also gymnastics competition.
We are considering a substantial donation to a college or university who wishes to start a womens gymnastics program provided they will guarantee to continue that program for at least 5 years.
It is my understanding that at the USA Gymnastics College Nationals in Massachusetts earlier this year, UCSB women's team was awarded the Mari-Rae Sopper award, which will be given to those who are most dedicated and passionate about the sport of gymnastics.
We have raised $75,000 and are continuing our efforts. Well fill you in when we know more.
Thanks for everything all of you have been doing to help the cause.