Along with changing its name from the Senior Class Gift Fund, the Class of 2009 Fund has changed its focus this year, encouraging graduating seniors to donate to specific programs and groups at Georgetown.
“This is the first year where we have posed the question to seniors: Where do you want to give?” said Kenneth Gillette (COL ’09), co-chair of the Class of 2009 Fund Committee. “We have highlighted priorities of the institution, like the Georgetown Fund, but have not offered a tangible gift as other years have done.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the Class of 2009 Fund has raised $20,089 with donations from about 45 percent of the senior class.
According to Gillette, about 70 percent of the current donations have been designated by seniors to be given to the Georgetown Fund, a university-directed program that provides funding for scholarships, student programs and faculty recruitment and retention.
In April, 32 percent of the class of 2009 made donations totaling $13,000. At that time last year, only 13 percent of the class of 2008 had donated.
The class of 2008 ultimately raised $34,273 from 55 percent participation. The class of 2008 donated to the Georgetown Fund and a campus beautification project that was created by the senior class.
While the Class of 2009 Fund does not have a monetary goal, ChloÃ Waddington (SFS ’09), co-chair of the Class of 2009 Fund Committee, said that the committee aims to receive gifts from 65 percent of the senior class. According to Gillette, if 65 percent of the senior class contributes to the Class of 2009 Fund, an anonymous alumnus will donate $10,000 to the Georgetown Fund.
“It is not about how much money we raise, it is about how many people participate,” Gillette said.
Besides the Georgetown Fund, other popular recipients of the Class of 2009 Fund are the men’s basketball program, the Center for Social Justice and the Georgetown Scholarship Program.
“Our goal is to educate people about philanthropy,” Gillette said. “The experience at Georgetown is created by alumni donation.”
Gillette and Waddington agree that the economy has affected their fundraising efforts.
“[The response] we hear most often is `Why are you asking me to make a gift when I don’t even have a job?'” Waddington said. “If you can afford a beer at Tombs, you can give a gift.”
Gilda Bobele (COL’09) said that while the state of the economy has affected many fiscal decisions she has made over the year, it was not a major factor in her decision to donate.
“I just figured that if everyone could pass up a night out at dinner or a few drinks and donate to the fund, a lot of money could be raised without anyone really missing much,” Bobele said.
Aided by the 20 students that comprise the largest senior class committee for a graduating class gift fund in Georgetown history, the Class of 2009 Fund began fundraising efforts in September with a kick-off party at the Alumni House, which over 350 people attended. In November, the Class of 2009 Fund Committee organized a Philanthropy Awareness Week. In February, the committee planned events for Tuition Day, the day that marks when students’ tuitions stop funding all the services Georgetown provides for the year and the university begins to rely on alumni donations.
Both Gillette and Waddington said that they hope their campaign efforts help the Committee reach their goal of 65 percent participation by graduation.
“As it gets closer to graduation, people get more nostalgic,” Gillette said. “I am confident we will get a last surge.”