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CSU Pueblo Foundation Trustees Accept Gift from Friends of Football

Release Date: June 04, 2021

Amber Shipley

Director of Communications, Events and Annual Giving

CSU Pueblo Foundation

(719) 549-2380

Aerial of Thunderbowl

PUEBLO, Colo. – The Trustees of the Colorado State University Pueblo Foundation unanimously voted to accept the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl, as well as other assets, from the Friends of Football at their quarterly board meeting on May 21.

The gift, the largest one-time donation in the history of CSU Pueblo, includes the 15-acre ThunderBowl complex as well as additional cash assets. The total value of the gift will be determined once an appraisal of the property is complete.

“We are both grateful, and humbled by the trust the DeRose family and the Friends of Football have placed in us with this gift,” said Chad Heberly, CSU Pueblo Foundation chairperson. “They have shown what is possible with vision and determination and we are excited to continue that legacy. The impact made by the DeRose family and Friends of Football is immeasurable in dollar terms; it more importantly resonates in the lives of our students, alumni, and the Pueblo community every day.”

Friends of Football, a private 501c3 non-profit organization, was established in 2007 to help raise funds to expand the CSU Pueblo Department of Athletics with the addition of football, women’s track and field, and wrestling. FOF also built the ThunderBowl, which sits on privately-owned land adjacent to CSU Pueblo.

The success of the Friends of Football is reflected by the excellence of the programs, which includes the 2014 NCAA Division II National Football Championship.

“Words can’t quite express the gratitude we have for the DeRose Family and Friends of Football. Their philanthropy and generosity have undoubtedly helped so many young men and women continue their athletic and academic aspirations while simultaneously enriching generations to come,” said Foundation Trustee Vice-Chairperson, Brandice Eslinger. “They have taken a game and made it so much more. All of this while bringing pride and a deeper sense of community to the City of Pueblo, CSU System, and the State of Colorado, leaving very big shoes to fill. We hope to honor this gift by continuing a vision and legacy.”

Constructed in 2008, the ThunderBowl features 6,500 seats, a synthetic turf field, a ten-lane, all-weather track, throwing, jumping, and pole vault areas, as well as a 27,000-square-foot field house. The stadium is also home to the Leomiti Warrior Center, a 10,000-square-foot strength and conditioning complex. The roof of the center features an observation deck providing opportunities for special events and pre-game hospitality. The ThunderBowl hosts numerous sporting events at the collegiate and high school levels, as well as youth sports.

“On behalf of the CSU Pueblo Foundation Board of Trustees, I would like to thank Friends of Football and the DeRose family for their transformative gifts that have propelled CSU Pueblo into one of the fastest-growing university’s in the state,” said Todd Kelly, CSU Pueblo Foundation President/CEO. “Even more importantly, however, we wish to thank them for the trust they have placed in us to continue their legacy which will never be forgotten.”

“On a personal level, I consider Friends of Football and the DeRose family close, personal friends who have been a blessing in my life. Pueblo is a better place because of their support and belief in Pueblo and our university,” said Kelly.

Colorado State University Pueblo Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization established in 1954. The mission of the CSU Pueblo Foundation is to provide sustainable financial support to CSU Pueblo through philanthropic efforts. The Foundation currently has assets in excess of $50 million and distributes over $2.5 million in scholarships annually to nearly 1,000 students.

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