UAB Blazers - Community Support for the Team

A nearly unbelievable thing happened: for a while, there was no football at the University of Alabama Birmingham. This was a decision that rocked the university and the city, pulling them together in support of a sport that was integral to the community and its sense of place. Over a remarkably short time, the community stepped forward supplying the necessary enthusiasm and financial support to rebuild the football program at UAB.

Heurista was so excited to play a small part in the celebration that burned bright in Birmingham. The return of UAB football heralded a significant new feature on the city’s landscape, a state-of-the-art practice facility supported by philanthropy. We worked with the university’s fundraising and athletic directors to develop a donor recognition program that celebrated key moments in the team’s past while creating new legacy stories around the support received from the community.

“I think Birmingham decided it was time to step up and meet its potential as a city and UAB is the driver of our community. It was a great investment and as you look around you’re seeing the return on that investment.” - Craft O’Neal, chairman of O’Neal Industries and member of the Gang of Seven who lead the community fundraising effort

The donor recognition components included interior and exterior plaques that were designed by Heurista and built and installed by Fravert, a local business specializing in architectural graphics. Each area naming plaque includes a photo significant to the history of the UAB football program as well as a brief statement of the relationship between the donor(s) and the football program at UAB. The main donor recognition display uses tightly branded graphics on large format prints that can be easily updated to stay aligned with the brand and accomplishments of the UAB team.

The design of the donor recognition closely aligns with other environmental graphics in the building. The scale and style of the graphics is a key feature in the design of the facility. They serve to inspire new recruits who visit as they consider joining the UAB team.


The UAB Blazers are back and playing stronger than ever. And the people of Birmingham could not be happier or more proud. Football games, the team and the new facility all herald a new era, one where people invest in what they love and reap the rewards of participating in an effort that means so much to the community. We are inspired by the Blazers and those who support them. It is a reminder of what being part of a team is all about.


Written By Anne Manner-McLarty

Anne Manner-McLarty is the managing editor of the Journal of Donor Relations and Stewardship. She founded Heurista in 2011, a leading resource for consulting specific to donor relations and stewardship, with particular expertise in the donor recognition program design and implementation.