Donor gives $100,000 to financial aid

Alumni surpassed an anonymous donor’s challenge to give 9,000 donations by the end of the year, securing a gift to a financial aid fund.

First seriously promoted in early December, the donor pledged $100,000 to the GW Power & Promise Fund if 9,000 alumni donated to the University by Dec. 31.

Patricia Danver, a spokeswoman for the development office, said 9,377 alumni donations were received between July 1 and Dec. 31 – a more than 10 percent increase in donations over the same period last year. The office counted all alumni donations made since July 1 – the start of the fiscal year – toward the goal.

The total amount of money raised will be determined this week, Danver said.

To participate in the challenge, alumni could give any amount of money to any area of the University, including to specific schools, academic departments, student organizations or athletics.

On Dec. 27, the University said on Twitter that 1,436 alumni donations were still needed, and then on Dec. 31 said it still needed several hundred more.

Michael Morsberger, vice president of development and alumni relations, said the challenge was an effective fundraising tool that brought in gifts from new and continuing supporters.

“We have a tremendously positive response from our alumni, especially in the last few weeks of the year,”?Morsberger said. “This is just one demonstration of the overwhelming support alumni feel for the University and its goals.”?

About one-third of the donors had not given to the University before, Danver said. Among all undergraduate alumni donations, those who graduated between 2008 and 2009 donated more than every other class of alumni.

Online donations from alumni increased 70 percent from the same period in 2009 and Danver estimated that the Power & Promise Fund drew in the most gifts.

The development office organized the challenge in October after the anonymous donor came forward with the $100,000 contribution for financial aid. The donor agreed to the challenge, which the development office believed could increase the gift’s potential by using it to motivate alumni giving.

“The alumni donation of the $100,000 to the University is a wonderful commitment to the financial aid budget,” Associate Vice President for Financial Assistance Daniel Small said. “Not only does it provide funding to assist our students during these economic times but it is a clear indication our graduates value their education at GW and want other students to benefit from the same experience.”

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