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BrickStreet foundation gives $4 million to WVU

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The BrickStreet Insurance Foundation is giving $4 million to West Virginia University to benefit the school's business and athletic departments.

BrickStreet chief executive Greg Burton joined university leaders in Morgantown on Tuesday to announce the donation.

"At BrickStreet, we believe our success is dependent upon not only our corporate interests, but also those that improve opportunities and promote quality of life in the communities we serve," Burton said in a press release announcing the gift.

"We are proud to be able to support West Virginia University's academic and athletic programs," Burton said.

 The gift includes a $3 million donation to the College of Business and Economics' Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and $1 million for the WVU Athletic Department to improve student-athlete facilities.

The $3 million gift is the largest corporate donation in the College of Business and Economics' history. As a result of the gift, the school's entrepreneurship center is being renamed as the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

"This gift to our College of Business and Economics will help our faculty and staff inspire entrepreneurship in our students and open doors for future generations to find success right here in West Virginia," WVU President Jim Clements said.

Business school dean Jose "Zito" Sartarelli called the BrickStreet gift "truly transformational." 

He said the donation would not only allow the college to maintain entrepreneurship center's current programs -- such as the West Virginia Statewide Business Plan Competition for students -- but also extend some programs to state high school students. 

"To get young people in high school interested in and excited about starting new businesses is very important, as we look to create new businesses and new jobs in West Virginia," Sartarelli said.

WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck said the $1 million donation to the athletic program would help fund the school's much-needed football renovations.

"Our success depends largely on generous contributions such as this one from BrickStreet, and we certainly are fortunate to have them as a member of our team," Luck said.

In addition to the football renovations, Clements said the $1 million would also improve facilities for students in athletic training and exercise physiology majors.

"We are very grateful for these incredible gifts from the BrickStreet Foundation and look forward to seeing the positive impacts for years to come," Clements said.

The gifts are being made as part of WVU's "A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia's University," which is designed to help fund the university's 2020 strategic plan. 

The $750 million fundraising campaign by the WVU Foundation runs through December 2015.

Founded in 2006, BrickStreet was West Virginia's first private workers' compensation carrier. The company currently carries half of the workers' compensation policies in the state.

The $4 million donation to WVU is actually the company's second large donation to a state university this year.

In January, the BrickStreet foundation donated $2.5 million to Marshall University to establish an occupational and environmental health endowment at Marshall's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

That donation was matched through the state's "Bucks for Brains" West Virginia Research Trust Fund, for a total benefit of $5 million to Marshall.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.


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