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Irish Insights

Donors who respond to the challenge will receive a signature Kelly green Notre Dame monogram lapel pin.

Kelly's challenge

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has made a challenge, and it has nothing to do with football.

Kelly launched the Coach Kelly Challenge in an effort to encourage Notre Dame supporters to offer financail support to the university, the university announced Monday.

"Notre Dame is changing the world through great discoveries in research, by educating the leaders of tomorrow and by improving our local communities," Kelly said in a news release. "I ask you to join me in supporting Notre Dame to show your own passion for what matters to you."

Kelly's challenge isn't just lip service.

Also on Monday, Kelly and his wife, Paqui, donated $250,000 to Notre Dame.

The Kelly's gift will be spread between the university's cancer research efforts, the Hesburgh Libraries and the Robinson Community Learning Center.

"It reflects our commitment to seeing Notre Dame succeed, on and off the gridiron," Kelly said.

A portion of the donation will go to the Mike and Josie Harper Cancer Research Institute, set to open this summer at Notre Dame. The institute will bring together scientists from Notre Dame and Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer.

Paqui Kelly has twice been treated successfully for breast cancer.

"Paqui and I have decided to partner with the Notre Dame Annual Fund and make this gift to the university in support of some of the programs that are important to us on a personal level," Kelly said.

The donationa will also provide finicial support to the 11 branches of the Hesburgh Libraries and underwrite innovative tutoring, violence-prevention, youth entrepreneurship and performing arts projects for adults and children in South Bend's Northeast Neighborhood through the Robinson Community Learning Center.

Kelly has set an initial goal of 2,500 new or renewed donors to Notre Dame in time for the Sept. 4 football season opener against Purdue. Donors who respond to the challenge will receive a signature Kelly green Notre Dame monogram lapel pin.

The challenge concludes on June 30, 2011.

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