Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

After String of Down Years, University Donations Rise Dramatically

Following two years of decreasing fundraising totals, Georgetown had a bounceback fundraising year during the most recent fiscal cycle, raising nearly $130 million in new commitments, according to an administrator in the Office of Advancement.

Chief Marketing Officer for the Office of Advancement William O’Leary said that the total represented “among best fundraising years in the university’s history.” The university raised over $105 million during the 2004 fiscal year, but donations dropped in each of the past two years to $99 million in 2005 and $98 million in 2006. The fiscal year ends annually on June 30.

The $130 total was not a record for the university. Georgetown raised $146 million during the 2003 fiscal year, it’s highest-ever total.

Christopher Augostini, the university’s chief financial officer, said in a recent interview with HoyasOnline – the university’s alumni Web site – that improvements are being made to the economic status of the university.

“The overall financial condition of Georgetown is strong and getting stronger,” Augostini said. “The university-wide perspective is that Georgetown has been able to strengthen its academic competitiveness at the same time it is reducing its operating losses and relying less on debt as a source for the largest physical plant expansion in our history,” he said.

Augostini said that the university did not begin effectively fundraising until the 1970s, decades after many other top universities began.

“In fiscal year 2006, Stanford raised about $900 million in gifts,” said Augostini. “We fundraise in the $100-million range.”

Thanks to recent initiatives including an aggressive capital campaign and the 18-month-old Student Ambassador program, Georgetown has been reaching out to alumni and securing its place in the fundraising race.

Dave Skomba (SFS ’83) said he has seen improvement in alumni outreach over the past five to seven years.

“They’ve done a better and better job,” he said.

Skomba, who said he donates every year, noted the newer e-mail contact as a more effective way of reaching alumni.

“I get an e-mail about every week with updates. They’ve done a good job keeping us posted on a variety of topics – invitations, continuing education, news,” he said.

The Student Ambassador Program, a program that arranges interviews between current students and alumni, was founded in 2005 to increase interaction between alumni and the university.

According to the Office of Advancement, pledges to the university are used in various specified areas including course development, biomedical research, student life, athletics, financial aid, libraries, campus ministries and technology.

The most significant contributions to the university have come in the form of restricted pledges, which allow alumni to specify how they want their donations to be spent.

“Georgetown is finding that our donors are sophisticated in their charitable giving and are being more specific about how they want their donations deployed,” O’Leary said.

Alexandra Landegger (SFS ’10), who works as a Student Ambassador, said that many alumni prefer giving to specific efforts at Georgetown and are pleased with the expanded categories for donations.

“It seems like most alumni like this idea, so they know exactly where their money will be used,” she said. “Several alumni with whom I have spoken seem to have something against giving to a general fund because they think their money just ends up going to ripping up and planting new flowers around the John Carroll statue every two weeks during the summer.”

The Office of Advancement offers donors the options of contributing to 12 different funds, including gift planning, the edical Center, athletics and campus-wide initiatives.

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