Last season, CNPL alum Matt Stoltz (’14) integrated his passions for baseball, biking, and helping under-served youth through a ride of a lifetime. Stoltz biked more than 11,700 miles to all 30 Major League ballparks, raising $36,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Mentoring Program.
The money raised along the way came through private donations, including professional baseball players. “I only had to pay for tickets twice on the trip,” says Matt. “Once the word got out about what I was doing, the players and fans provided tickets. “ Baseball enthusiasts also provided Matt shelter and companionship. “I met strangers who were nice enough to let me stay overnight. It was a great experience connecting with baseball fans all over the nation. “
During the trek, word of Matt’s fundraiser tour spread. “I would be riding along and people would recognize me as I biked through town,” he remembers. “It was kind of surreal. I’m just a kid from a small town in Wisconsin and these people in big cities know what I’m doing.”
By mid-September Matt was peddling through familiar territory—his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a Community and Nonprofit Leadership grad, his educational home is the School of Human Ecology. “SoHE is a unique within UW and a great learning opportunity because it’s a smaller major,” states Matt. “You have a classmate support system and form connections with professors. The student body and professors helped spread the word about the trip. The were also there to offer words of encouragement when I needed it.”
My SoHE teacher Michael Maguire read my blog and could tell when I needed encouragement. It was a long two-week stretch between Colorado and Texas and it was great to have his support.
“Matt has a sincerity of purpose—something I noticed in the classes he had with me,” states Maguire, faculty associate for CNPL. “Whether it was in the classroom, leading on campus, or engaged in the community, Matt’s positive outlook and ‘can-do’ approach to making the world a better place is admirable and inspiring.
One season later, you can retrace Matt’s trip and donate online at bikingforbaseball.org
Improving the Educational Experience
Annual gifts provide immediately available discretionary funds that the Dean uses develop students’ educational opportunities in ways that encourage more than intellectual growth. Individual support makes a profound impact on inspiring the next generation of Badger leaders and ground-shakers.
Click “All Ways Forward” to start making a difference.