My Fitness

Rugger Plunge Demonstrates Rugby’s Character

February 8, 2018

One of the great things about the rugby community is its willingness to consistently give back. Over the last couple of years, several college women’s rugby teams, (Sacred Heart and the University of New Haven) along with the support of the Wealth Continuum Group, Powered by Penn Mutual, have teamed up to raise money for charity with the Annual Rugger Plunge.

The Rugger Plunge, which is held every February, is a fundraising competition between the two teams that culminates with everyone diving into the frigid Penfield Beach in Fairfield, Connecticut.

The challenge originated after Penn Mutual signed on to be the title sponsor of the Collegiate Rugby Championship. As the Wilton Connecticut office learned more and more about the sport of rugby, the Managing Partner of Wealth Continuum Group, Jim Pierce, decided he wanted to get involved.

“We started hearing stories about the rugby community and the values that it instills and we decided to dive deep with rugby in a way that was meaningful and left a lasting legacy in the community,” Pierce said of the early days.

With Sacred Heart and the University of New Haven being local colleges, Wealth Continuum approached the women’s teams with the idea of supporting the growth of rugby on a local level. The relationships with the rugby teams started as a means of giving the team’s financial literacy, job opportunities and networking opportunities and the relationships evolved into including charitable contributions to the community.

“We wanted to tie in some form of philanthropy into our rugby initiatives and the Rugger Plunge was an excellent way to give back to a cause we support,” said Kelly Andersen, the Wealth Continuum Group Marketing Director and planner for the Rugger Plunge.

Over the last two years, the schools have competed to see who could raise the most amount of money and bring the most supporters to the Rugger Plunge. In exchange, the winning team receives something off their “wish list” for the upcoming season.

“This gives the teams the opportunity to get something out of it while raising money for a good cause,” Andersen added.

The proceeds from the event have gone to various charities over the two years. In 2015, the money raised went to the Wounded Warrior Project while 2016’s funds went to support inner city youth rugby programs in Connecticut. In total, the teams and Wealth Continuum Group have raised thousands of dollars. This year the event will benefit the Travis Manion Foundation, a group that empowers Veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.

The event has grown tremendously in two years, garnering additional of community support. A local television station is planning to do a broadcast and the Universities, not just the rugby teams, are joining in. Other sports teams, a fraternity and members of each of these communities are actively becoming involved.

“It is starting to become a community event with more and more people attending. It just shows that we are building long lasting relationships with these programs and that it is all worthwhile.” Andersen concluded. The third annual Rugger Plunge will take place on February 18. With the enthusiasm and overall support for giving back to the community, it is no doubt this year will be even bigger and better.

Click Sacred Heart or New Haven to make a donation and get involved in the competition.

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