Penn Wrestling receives $1 Million gift from Philadelphia 76ers owner and former Penn wrestler Josh Harris W'86

By Charles P Dorman, University of Pennsylvania | July 11, 2018, 1:18 p.m. (ET)
PHILADELPHIA – July 11, 2018 – The University of Pennsylvania announced today that it has received a $1 million gift from the Harris Family Charitable Foundation to support the wrestling program’s growth and development. The Harris Family Charitable Foundation was founded by Josh Harris, a former University of Pennsylvania wrestler, and his wife, Marjorie.

The gift, which will be distributed over five years, includes $500,000 of which the university will use to create the Joshua J. Harris Wrestling Assistant Coach Endowment. An additional $500,000 will be applied to team travel, recruiting, nutrition, equipment and salaries, along with planned facility renovations.

The seven-figure donation supports head coach Roger Reina’s plan and vision to solidify Penn Wrestling as one of the NCAA’s premier programs. Driven by the goal of recruiting and developing the nation’s best and brightest wrestlers, the program looks to establish a culture of winning and long-term success for its team and athletes. Under Reina’s direction, Penn recently secured one of the nation’s 10 best recruiting classes, while in December, the team earned its highest team score at the renowned Midland Championships since 2001.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of Penn alum Josh Harris and the Harris Family Charitable Foundation as we aim big to create an unrivaled experience for our wrestling student-athletes,” Director of Athletics Dr. M. Grace Calhoun said. “As we launch into our Game Onward fundraising campaign over the next several years, this gift will help enable us to obtain competitive excellence, a world-class student-athlete experience and engage our campus like never before.”

“The Harris Family Charitable Foundation’s support of the University of Pennsylvania wrestling team is remarkable and will provide us the valuable resources at an ideal time to accelerate the growth of our program,” Reina said. “Josh has long referenced how he’s applied the invaluable lessons he learned as a wrestler to his incredibly impressive professional career. We are profoundly grateful that he is giving back in such an impactful way. Our program will be enhanced for years to come thanks to the powerful financial commitment Josh and his foundation have made.”

Harris, a 1986 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, wrestled for the Quakers. He is the co-founder of Apollo Global Management, LLC, as well as Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which includes in its portfolio the likes of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils. Through his foundation, he is thrilled to support to a program that means so much to he and his family.

“From an early age, wrestling taught me the virtues of hard work, grit and tenacity.” Harris said. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to support Penn Wrestling as it strives for excellence. I hope that the team will achieve national prominence under Coach Reina’s guidance, and that more importantly, these young athletes will learn valuable life lessons through their commitment to the sport, which will ultimately enable them to lead better lives.”

About University of Pennsylvania Wrestling
First established in 1900 and entering its 115th season as a varsity program, the University of Pennsylvania has long supported the sport of collegiate wrestling since its founder, Ben Franklin, encouraged all students to be trained in the classic sport as part of his mission statement upon the University’s founding. One of the nation’s oldest and most historic programs, Penn Wrestling counts among its alumni an Olympic gold medalist, five NCAA champions, 28 All-Americans, and 64 EIWA champions.

About The Harris Family Charitable Foundation

The Harris Family Charitable Foundation strives to improve people’s lives and unlock their potential by inspiring youth, strengthening communities, and promoting wellness and healthy living. Our differentiated approach combines outcomes-based funding, targeted organizational support, and a network of like-minded donors and strategic sponsors, which amplifies the impact of our contributions.