Virginia Tech-focused non-profit The Hokie Way has raised $600,000

On3 imageby:Andy Wittry01/24/23


The Virginia Tech-aligned non-profit organization The Hokie Way announced Tuesday that it raised more than $600,000 in 2022 to help promote charitable causes using athletes’ names, images and likenesses. The Hokie Way launched in July 2022 and it’s one of four sports marketing agencies or NIL collectives that support athletes at Virginia Tech.

The non-profit organization says it received 501(c)(3) status last November. It creates NIL-related activations that involve Virginia Tech athletes and charitable causes.

“We’re proud to share that over 550 Virginia Tech supporters contributed donations during the December campaign,” The Hokie Way Board of Directors Treasurer Jim Pearman said in a statement. “With the matching commitment, total contributions totaled more than $600,000.”

An anonymous donor committed to matching up to $300,000 in funds raised through the end of 2022.

The Hokie Way has partnered with charities including Feeding Southwest Virginia, Special Olympics of the New River Valley, Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia and the Life Ring Foundation.

“The response and involvement of Hokie fans throughout the matching campaign were incredible,” The Hokie Way Board of Directors President Jim Petrine said in a statement. “The funds raised are going to have a big impact on local charities, as well as VT student-athletes. I’m really excited to share with the Hokie Nation the difference they will make as a result of their generosity. A very special thank you to all who participated.”

Agencies, NIL collectives support Virginia Tech athletes

The Hokie Way has a nine-member board of directors. The board of directors also includes secretary Jim Cowan, former Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, former men’s basketball player Justin Robinson, former volleyball player Jalia Tolbert, Nick Rush, Bridget Ryan Berman and Kelly Woolwine.

Rush is also a founder of the collective Commonwealth NIL. Woolwine is the CEO of Triumph NIL, a sports marketing agency that has signed NIL agreements with more than 60 Virginia Tech athletes.

With four sports marketing agencies, NIL collectives or non-profit organizations supporting Virginia Tech athletes’ NIL opportunities, the school’s NIL ecosystem is one of the more crowded nationally. That comes after Hot Route Sports Marketing acquired Triumph NIL last summer, too.

It was one of the earliest examples of mergers among third-party sports marketing agencies or NIL collectives.

“I think more than two is way too many, but I think it also just depends on how people fit into the community and the role,” Triumph NIL partner and former Virginia Tech football player Brenden Hill told On3 last July. “I can think of Indiana. I don’t know about their collectives or marketing agencies around their school but I know they have their non-profit angle [Hoosiers for Good]. I could imagine if they had two marketing agencies that paired with that nonprofit, then maybe three would work.

“But that non-profit technically isn’t a collective so it just depends. I think less is better.”