The Student Association will donate more than $30,000 from the past academic year’s operating budget to community service organizations in D.C.
The SA announced Friday that it will donate the remaining $32,620 from the 2019-20 academic year to five community service organizations throughout the District. SA executive branch leaders said they selected five non-political organizations – the Free Mind Books Prison Aid, Stop Police Terror Project, East of the River Mutual Aid, Fellowship Square and Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter – dedicated to improving the lives of underrepresented minorities in D.C. to emphasize GW’s dedication to serving the local community.
“The relationship that GW has with the D.C. community is marred by mistreatment and displacement of many of the city’s residents, and this has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” an SA Facebook post states. “We acknowledge that this donation is only a drop in the bucket relative to the justice that the D.C. community is owed, but we decided to make it hoping that it will have an impact and set the stage for our mindset of service and justice this year.”
SA President Howard Brookins said the operating budget is generally used throughout the year to fund office furniture, food at meetings and any projects the executive branch decides to pursue, but thousands of dollars remained in the budget after all on-campus activity halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brookins said executive branch members formed a research group in May with the goal of analyzing different organizations in D.C. that did not have political ties and sought to provide aid for underrepresented community members.
“The organizations are dedicated to improving the lives of underrepresented members of our community,” Brookins said. “Each group helps a certain population of people in D.C. that we felt have been most left behind by both the D.C. government and the GW community.”
He added that the SA is planning to launch programs during the fall that would conduct similar work to the five organizations to expand its community service work, using funding from this upcoming academic year’s operating and co-sponsorship budget.
“Expect more programs like this,” Brookins said. “For our first venture into community service, we made it a straightforward donation because that was simple to execute while we are all at home over the summer.”