From football to fundraising

Grambling State University Head  Football Coach Broderick Fobbs was honored at a Shreveport breakfast, which celebrated his naming as the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Coach of the Year. Here he announced a fundraising campaign to raise money for the university in light of the budget cuts the university is facing in the 2015-2016 Louisiana state budget.

“Grambling is a state public institution, and what you’ll find these days is that our institutions, especially the public institutions, are not getting the same amount of funding from your taxes anymore,” said GSU Interim President Cynthia Warrick. 

“We need help. We need your dollars. We need you to talk to the legislature, especially about this upcoming legislative session, to not cut higher education, because the cuts he’s talking about will have a major impact on higher education that is really going to be detrimental to our future. So I want to plead with all of you to assist us in making the case that it’s really important that Grambling State University gets the kind of support it needs to move forward,” she said.

The meet and greet was held Feb. 13 at the Independence Bowl Club Level in Shreveport and was organized by two Grambling State University Foundation Board Members, Helen Godfrey-Smith, president and CEO of Shreveport Federal Credit Union, and David Aubrey, regional director of AT&T. 

“If we don’t invest in our universities, we will invest in corrections. It’s up to us as citizens of our state to decide what is important to the future of the state of Louisiana, and we know how important a well-educated workforce is to the success of our state. This is not the time or the season for us to turn back and say that we are not investing in the future,” Godfrey-Smith said.  

Coach Fobbs said that Grambling athletics is centered on producing well-rounded student athletes who can perform well in the field, in the classroom and serve as future leaders in their communities. 

“We believe it is important to invest not only in their future on the field, but off the field as well. Everything that we do, all the programs that are put in place with our staff, is with that in mind. It’s about building the entire student athlete. We will need your help with that,” he said. 

Many people who attended the fundraising breakfast expressed a desire to help Grambling. For Michael Randle, pastor of Washington Temple in Shreveport, he felt driven to support the place where he answered the call to enter the service of the Lord.

“I became a preacher at Grambling. The Lord decided that was the right time. I actually became a Christian at Grambling, got saved and accepted my call into the ministry,” he said. “Being a graduate, I thought it would be a good idea to come and lend my support. I thought it was a very informative meeting to see the financial challenges the university is facing from a legislative perspective.”

Miss Grambling 1975, Gail Guidry-Griffin, was glad to show support for her alma mater, where she earned a bachelor of science in elementary education and a master of science in counseling. 

As a teacher of 40 years, Griffin recognizes the value of higher education, especially at Grambling, where 10 of her family members have earned higher degrees, and she is sorry to see that the university is facing financial trouble due to cuts in higher education.

“It means we are not preparing the future of our children for the productive workforce. If a student wants to go to college, the state should fully support that. That’s what our tax dollars are for,” she said. 

Shreveport Federal Credit Union was the title sponsor with a donation of $5,000. Tiger sponsors include Grigg’s Enterprise McDonald’s with a donation of $1,500 and Southern Strategy Group with a donation of $1,000. 

Shreveport Bossier Sports Commission, BALAR Engineering, IMS Engineering, Delta Upsilon Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Shreveport Chapter of Grambling Alumni Association and Shreveport Bossier African American Chamber of Commerce were table sponsors with a donation of $500 each. 

This breakfast was the first of many “meet and greet” events for Coach Fobbs, who will be traveling around the country to meet with Grambling alumni and to raise money for the university. 

Coach Fobbs traveled to Dallas on Feb. 21 and Atlanta on March 1. He will be in Houston on March 10, Los Angeles on March 22 and Washington, D.C. on March 29. He will also make stops in New York City, Monroe in April, New Orleans, Chicago in May, and Detroit in June.