Over $400,000 raised by One Million Dollar Challenge so far

Alumnus Marcus Lemonis, star of The Profit on CNBC, partnered with Marquette for the One Million Dollar Challenge to help fundraise for the university.

“The challenge is going well, with over $451,000 raised to date, including the first $100,000 from Marcus,” said Sara Harvey, managing director of annual giving for the University Advancement Office. “Our benefactors have been generous to date and we believe we can reach the goal by the March 12 deadline.”

The challenge runs from Jan. 5 to March 12 and the goal is to raise $1 million. Lemonis, who will donate a total of $300,000 to the initiative, said he wants to bring meaningful philanthropy to his alma mater.

Lemonis is the CEO of Camping World, the world’s largest RV retailer, and chairman of Good Sam, the world’s largest RV owner’s organization. On his show, The Profit, he works to improve struggling businesses.

Anyone can donate to the challenge. There is no minimum donation requirement, but there is maximum amount of $5,000.

“I had a chance to speak with Marcus leading up to the challenge, and he shared his motivation behind this visionary idea,” said University Spokesman Brian Dorrington.

“Marcus has a deep desire to build a culture of philanthropy, and he particularly hopes the challenge inspires students and young alums to give back to the Marquette community.”

The challenge has received a strong fundraising response so far, and Harvey hopes to continue the streak.

Unconventional methods of advertising like men’s basketball games have been successful with students and alumni, but traditional methods like phone calls and emails are sent out as well.

University Advancement handles the donations. They work with other fundraising campaigns in addition to the challenge.

Lemonis looks to give the money to various initiatives across campus.

“I am unsure if this will be an annual event, but we have been thrilled to support an initiative that has the potential to improve the student experience at the university,” Harvey said.

Lemonis will visit campus Feb. 26 for National Marquette Day, according to Kathleen Waterbury, director of brand marketing in the Office of Marketing and Communication.