Q&A: Taking the LEAD
During the summer of 2020, Logan Eggleston and several fellow members of the Texas Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) met with UT President Jay Hartzell and several university leaders to find new ways for harnessing university resources to better serve the community. One idea from those conversations that came into fruition was the DDCE’s Longhorns for Equity, Access and Diversity (LEAD), a philanthropic initiative that allocates $100,000 of Texas Athletics funding per year for the next five years to nonprofits selected by student-athletes.
We caught up with Eggleston, a business management senior and captain of the Texas Volleyball team, to learn more about her role in jumpstarting this new endeavor, and how she plans to use her platform to enact social change.
Could you please share a bit about how LEAD originated?
During this time, we became very conscious of the positive platforms we hold in the community and of the money we were bringing into the university as athletes. We all started exploring some new ways to put that money toward the good of the community. We initiated some conversations with President Hartzell and Dr. Leonard Moore [professor of history and former vice president of diversity and community engagement] to jumpstart the idea of donating athletics money in ways that support and positively impact the community. They trusted our passion, and they understood that this was a very tangible way we can change lives and get things done.
What, in your opinion, makes this initiative unique?
There are a lot of ways UT is working with community organizations, but until now these efforts have not been led by a specific student group. LEAD allows student-athletes to facilitate conversations with organizations, decide where the money goes, and have a voice and hand in making a positive change.
How else are you involved in community service?
I’ve volunteered with the Neighborhood Longhorns program (NLP) and with the Thinkery children’s museum to connect with kids and encourage our next generation of athletes in my sport. Also, over this past year, I helped the Student Athletes Advisory Committee (SAAC) create the DNA fund, which is a partnership with the NLP that gives back to low-income families whose children can’t participate in sports due to financial barriers. The funding goes toward expenses such as club dues, sports fees, uniforms, etc. I’m always looking for ways to be more involved and I believe the LEAD initiative is my next big step in community outreach.
What are the career benefits of LEAD?
This opportunity gives us hands-on behind-the-scenes experience into philanthropy. Not only does it show us the benefits of giving back to the community, but it also gives us some practical work experience in the areas of business and nonprofit work. We’re reading the applications and making the decisions on how to best allocate a large sum of money with the goal of making the biggest impact. It’s a challenging job, but so many athletes are passionate about this work and want to see how we can help our community best.
What drives you to give back?
When I think back to all the people who mentored me and who helped me become who I am today, I want to be that person for someone else. I want to help kids reach their potential and to also help support the community that has shaped me into who I am today.
Where do you see yourself after graduation?
I want to continue playing volleyball professionally after college while also creating and being the CEO of my own business.