Health & Wellness Science & Technology

Mark Richt raises funds for Parkinson’s research 

Coach Mark Richt speaks as he and his family present Anumantha Kanthasamy (holding check, at right) with a gift of $500,000 from The Richt Family Foundation, the donation which launched the 2023 Chick-fil-A Dawg Bowl fundraising campaign. (Photo by Repurposed Photography.) 

Campaign led by former Bulldogs coach nets $750,000+ for UGA Isakson Center 

Led by former University of Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, the Chick-fil-A Dawg Bowl raised more than $758,000 for Parkinson’s disease and Crohn’s disease research at UGA. The fundraiser, which featured a VIP bowling event, rallied over 1,330 donors to support UGA research. 

Coach Kirby Smart poses with Anumantha Kanthasamy, a professor in the UGA Isakson Center, and Arthi Kanthasamy at the 2023 Chick-fil-A Dawg Bowl event. (Photo by Repurposed Photography)

“I am very grateful to Chick-fil-A, Coach Richt and the many generous donors who contributed to the university’s research efforts in these important areas over the past two weeks,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Private support is essential to the kinds of cutting-edge research our faculty are conducting on Parkinson’s and related diseases, and the Chick-fil-A Dawg Bowl helps our researchers looking for new treatments and cures.”

Richt announced the charity event at UGA head football coach Kirby Smart’s Monday press conference on Oct. 2. Donations poured in before, during and after the bowling event on Wednesday, Oct. 18. 

During the bowling tournament, viewers tuned into the event’s livestream from home, watching Coach Richt and Bulldog greats such as Smart, David Pollack and Rennie Curran battle it out at Showtime Bowling Alley in Athens. Over the course of the tournament, donors gave $35,000.  

Coach Mark Richt catches up with former player David Pollack at the 2023 Chick-fil-A Dawg Bowl. (Photo by Repurposed Photography)

“My family and I want to sincerely thank the Bulldog Nation and all the donors who helped us take a bite out of Parkinson’s and Crohn’s,” Richt said. “I am so thankful to everyone who came out and supported in whatever way they could.”

The fundraiser surpassed its initial goal of $750,000, and all proceeds will go to UGA’s Isakson Center for Neurological Disease Research. There, researchers such as Anumantha Kanthasamy, John H. “Johnny” Isakson Chair for Parkinson’s Research and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, are developing groundbreaking treatments for Parkinson’s disease and investigating its link to gut inflammation conditions such as Crohn’s disease.  

“Giving at this level can have a monumental impact on the research we are doing here at the university,” Kanthasamy said. “We are so grateful to the donors and the Richt family for everything they have done to support the Isakson Center.” 

The fight against Parkinson’s and Crohn’s is deeply personal for the Richt family. Coach Richt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2021, and his granddaughter Jadyn was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as an infant in 2015. Since then, the family has prioritized raising awareness and funds for research on potential causes and treatments for these conditions. 

Those who wish to join the Richt family in that work can visit to make a gift that will enhance the Isakson Center’s work.