116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Keith Duncan gave Spencer Petras a call earlier this summer with a question. The former Iowa kicker’s question had nothing to do with football.
“What are you doing?” Duncan asked Petras.
Petras had just donated $6,000 to punter Tory Taylor’s campaign as part of the Every Kick Counts initiative, which Duncan launched in February.
“He goes, ‘I’m donating to Tory.’ I’m like, ‘Are you sure?’” Duncan said. “I was thrilled.”
Athletes participate and can raise money via two methods — traditional one-time donations and performance-based donations.
For example, someone can commit to $1 per point for Taylor. If he has a punt of 45 or more yards, that’d be a point. If he pins an opponent inside the 20, that’s two points. Inside the 10? Three points.
Petras’ $6,000 donation is the largest since Duncan started Every Kick Counts. Well, at least for now.
“I've been talking to other sponsors and some other former teammates, and I told them to donate $6,001,” Duncan said. “That would upset Spencer, but it would be funny. So we’re starting a little competition.”
Petras already isn’t the only donor Iowa football fans would be familiar with. Former Iowa wide receiver Max Cooper also has contributed to Taylor’s campaign.
Cooper and his friend and podcast co-host Jack Forester combined to donate about $1,000, and Cooper’s parents donated another $1,000.
Taylor’s campaign has raised $11,200, as of Tuesday for Count the Kicks, which also has been the beneficiary of profits from Taylor’s “Punting is Winning” Raygun T-shirts.
The fan-favorite Hawkeye punter has a clear lead in the Every Kick Counts leaderboard, with Gianna Bennett of Des Moines Christian in second place.
Overall, participants have raised more than $36,000, and that’s before per-point donations kick in during the football season.
“It’s exceeded a lot of our expectations so far,” Duncan said.
It’s not just about the money, though. Every Kick Counts has spread awareness about the topic that Count the Kicks works to educate people about.
“The financial stuff is awesome, and it does help out tremendously, but where we see that impact is expectant parents and future parents understanding what our app can do and the impact that it can really create,” Duncan said.
As of Tuesday, Every Kick Counts has 97 participants from 28 different states, Duncan said.
“We're reaching out to a lot of people and getting some really good responses,” Duncan said. “Now, we’re trying to grow and reach into the college level as well.”
Every Kick Counts already has some college or NFL participants, but not as many as at the high school level.
Duncan has thought of some out-of-the-box ideas for how to promote Every Kick Counts, including promoting it during football games at Kinnick Stadium.
“I want to keep going and going and going,” Duncan said.
Raising money for a nonprofit hasn’t exactly been what’s paying the bills, though. Duncan also has his own business teaching kicking and works at Waukee-based insurance brokerage Holmes Murphy.
“I like to stay busy,” Duncan said. “It’s kind of how my brain is wired.”
When he’s not selling insurance, teaching kickers, raising money, walking his dog or going to a brewery, he’ll be at Kinnick Stadium on Saturdays to support Every Kicks Counts’ biggest benefactor.
“Kinnick will be rocking, and I will be there yelling and screaming,” Duncan said.
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