George Washington University will hold its second official giving day on Wednesday, expanding on a tradition that last year raised $970,000 from more than 2,100 donors. In anticipation, more than 50 community members have already pledged to match donations made that day to support student financial aid, university infrastructure and other areas in need.
GW Alumni Association President Christine Brown-Quinn, MBA ’92, and her husband, Tom, chose to donate primarily because student support is important to them. Student support and access is key to building the smartest, healthiest community possible at GW and beyond, Brown-Quinn said. In fact, trying to maintain a vibrant, world-changing college community while limiting access only to students who can afford full admission would be like “trying to build a car but dropping a few wheels,” said she declared.
Brown-Quinn and Quinn also liked how Giving Day temporarily narrows philanthropic attention to a limited set of solvable problems. And they liked how the matching gift format encourages community participation and even, perhaps, a little healthy competition.
“I love that it’s something we do together as a community,” she said. “Let’s have fun around it – cheer each other on and challenge each other too.”
Their donation will be part of two significant matches: $25,000 as part of the GWAA Board of Trustees Match to encourage more donors to give and $25,000 as part of the GW School Dean’s Advisory Council Match of Business, of which she is a member. If raised, the total sum of $50,000 will go to the School of Business Graduate Student Aid.
“Business school is crucial in shaping future leaders,” Brown-Quinn said. “We need a student body with different experiences, diverse geographically, socio-economically, ethnically, in terms of neurodiversity – at all levels. This is how you encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.
Simon Lee, MS ’05, is an alumnus of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He and his wife Anna, who are also matched donors this year, are the parents of three other GW graduates: Julie Lee, MS ’05; Michelle Lee, BS ’05, MS ’08; and Philip Lee, MS ’06.
“For me, education is a lifelong process and a cornerstone of society,” Mr. Lee said. “When I give scholarships, I believe I am investing in the leaders of tomorrow who will carry on the tradition of giving.”
Michelle Rubin, BA ’91, chair of GW’s Athletics Advisory Board and another member of the GWAA Executive Committee, will match donations up to $5,000, with the final donation going to GW’s athletic initiatives. Like Brown-Quinn, she enjoys the way Giving Day taps into GW’s competitive and philanthropic spirit.
“I am honored to be able to be part of our community engagement around our current student-athletes – to see the competitive nature of our alumni, parents and friends around the world still shining bright as ever is thrilling to watch, ” she says. “A display of discipline and excellence continues thanks to the generosity of the thousands of donors who continue to commit to all of our GW student-athletes. That’s what Giving Day is for.
The window for creating matching gifts is still open. Anyone who uses the Giving Day donation platform, which goes live on April 6, will be able to both show where their donations are going and create their own challenges at the scale that they and their communities want to tackle. GW will also host a Giving Day celebration at Kogan Plaza from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, when students, faculty, and staff can give a gift, grab a snack, play games, and connect with each other.
“Any donation can and does make a tangible difference in the lives of our students and, through them, improves our community and our world,” said Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Donna Arbide. “This giving day helps our families, alumni, faculty, staff and friends connect and reconnect with each other is a bonus.”
To hear more stories from students impacted by philanthropy and how you can help, please visit http://givingday.gwu.edu/.