Beginning with a record-breaking $100 million gift from Frank McCourt Jr. (CAS ’75) in September, this fiscal year was the most successful fundraising year in Georgetown’s 225-year history.
On Sept. 18, the university announced that McCourt, the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, would fund the creation of the McCourt School of Public Policy, replacing the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.
However, McCourt’s gift was not without controversy, stemming from his past outside of Georgetown. During McCourt’s tenure as Dodgers owner, the team became mired in over $600 million of debt and was at the center of McCourt’s very public 2009 divorce, the most costly in California’s history.
The university honored McCourt’s gift with an academic ceremony Oct. 8 as well as a larger black-tie ceremony featuring members of Congress the following day.
Georgetown also received a second large gift, a $10 million donation from Alberto and Olga Maria Beeck (SFS ’81), to fund the creation of the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation in February.
According to Vice President for Advancement R. Bartley Moore, this corresponds with a nationwide move toward strategy- and initiative-based gifts.
“Donors of larger gifts increasingly want to connect their gift with an explicit strategy for the growth of the institution,” Moore said. “Giving is less charitable, and it’s more of a philanthropic investment. That’s not to say that giving is not a form of charity — the donors do not want anything material in exchange for their generosity, but they want to know that they will have an impact.”
According to Moore, by March 31 the university raised $189 million in new commitments and pledges, surpassing its original goal of $166 million. With three more months to go in the university’s fiscal year, Moore projected that the university would raise a total of $225 million by June 30.
“We are confident that we will break the record for total dollars this year,” Moore said.
The $189 million includes several donations of hundreds or thousands of dollars as well a smaller — but potentially record — number of principal gifts, which are over $1 million. At this point, the total number of principal gifts, 18, is lower than last year’s 21 at this point. Moore said he expected the fiscal-year-end total to be 25 or 26, compared to last year’s 28.
The Office of Advancement has also been tracking the percentage of undergraduate alumni donors that give to the university each year, which historically averages 25 percent. Moore said he expected over 33 percent of undergraduate alumni to give this year, an increase from last year’s 32 percent.
“We are very, very proud of that progress, but we’re aiming for 35 percent in 2016,” Moore said.
Ultimately, this year’s fundraising success brings the Campaign for Georgetown closer to its 2016 end goal of $1.5 billion. Moore said that, by March 31, the capital campaign had reached $1.26 billion, and is expected to hit $1.3 billion by the end of the fiscal year.
“We could finish $150 million ahead of our total goal,” Moore said. “The projection that I’ve been making to our leadership and board of directors is that success in the $1.5 billion goal is feeling increasingly confident.”