The university’s most profitable fundraising campaign in history, “For Generations to Come: The Campaign for Georgetown,” ended this June, raising $1.67 billion and surpassing its initial goal by more than $170 million.
Since its inception in 2006, the campaign has generated donations used to fund the launch of the McCourt School of Public Policy, academic centers such as the Steers Center for Global Real Estate at the McDonough School, construction projects such as the John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletic Center, faculty endowments and increased scholarship funding.
In a university-wide email to students sent on Sept. 16, Olson announced that during October, the university will host a series of events to commemorate the campaign. The first of these, a “Campaign Cookout” in Red Square, will take place on Friday, Oct. 7 and be followed by “Hoya Gateway Live,” a student-alumni networking event in the Healy Family Student Center.
“As a university community, we will be celebrating For Generations To Come: The Campaign For Georgetown, the most successful fundraising endeavor in the university’s history,” Olson wrote. “We set out ten years ago in pursuit of an ambitious set of goals to advance Georgetown—and with the support of our generous community of donors, including record-breaking participation from our student body, we were able to achieve extraordinary things.”
Vice President of Advancement Bart Moore (SFS ’87) said that philanthropic efforts are essential to preserving the mission of Georgetown.
“Great universities are built on great philanthropy. The university sector has learned that excellence in high education is not a readily profit generating business,” Moore said. “So we think it is a truth that to be an outstanding university dedicated to research and teaching, that the ever high level that defines excellence in higher education globally, that requires philanthropy.”
In Sept. 2015, after meeting its initial goal of $1.5 billion, the campaign allocated 42 percent of its funds to academics and 26 percent to recruiting students. The remaining funds were divided between student life and other new initiatives.
Forty-eight percent of donations came from alumni, in addition to 9 percent from parents and 7.5 percent from unaffiliated individuals. The remaining balance came from corporations and foundations, such as the Coca-Cola Foundation and family foundations of university alumni.
Though ultimately the most successful campaign in university history, it faced roadblocks during the mid-2000s as a result of the global financial crisis. Having a particularly difficult time achieving fundraising goals in fiscal year 2010, during which the campaign was only able to raise $96 million, Moore said the university made the decision to delay the initiation of the campaign’s public period by 18 months, beginning public fundraising efforts in October 2011.
Despite this period of slow fundraising, the campaign rebounded with a series of significant donations, including $100 million from Frank McCourt in fiscal year 2014 — the most successful year of the campaign.
Over the course of the 10-year campaign, fundraising methods transitioned from traditional mailing systems to social media and online advertising efforts. By 2014, 50 percent of all donations were made online, compared to less than 10 percent of those in 2010.
Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Olson said that the fundraising campaign has enhanced the university’s ability to provide opportunities for its students.
“For my part, I will note that this campaign, ‘For Generations to Come,’ has been a huge benefit to students — through strengthening our faculty, through the ambitious support for financial aid and access to Georgetown, and through new facilities like the Healey Family Student Center,” Olson wrote in an email to The Hoya.
More recently, the fundraising campaign engaged in an effort entitled “The Power of Many: Participation Matters” to increase undergraduate alumni participation, with a 35.3 percent participation rate as of June 2016.
Moore said that he is proud of the fact that the campaign was able to achieve an undergraduate alumni participation rate that he estimates is among the top 20 in the country.
“What everyone in higher education fundraising looks at is not the total number of donors but what percentage of your [donors are alumni]. It’s something that we all track, we report proudly and we’re very competitive about,” Moore said.
As part of the campaign, The Georgetown Fund recently began directing all of its donations to the 1789 Scholarship Fund, for the Georgetown Scholarship Program. After raising $428,576,224, the 1789 Scholarship Fund aims to support 1,789 undergraduate scholarships annually, with scholarships being provided in increments of $25,000.
In a university press release, Dean of Admissions Charles A. Deacon (C ’64, MA ’69) said that providing better financial aid to international students has become a priority.
“It is important for Georgetown to continue developing support for scholarships,” Deacon said. “One of our goals is to create a larger pool of funds for international students, where the need is significant. Increasing our scholarship support for these students builds the opportunity for the university to play a greater role in the global community.”