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Annual Giving Day rakes in record-high donations

Jordyn Bailer | Assistant Photo Editor
GW-themed prizes offered at Giving Day celebrations in the University Student Center.

Donors raised $1.7 million for the University’s annual Giving Day between Wednesday and Thursday, the highest amount raised for the event in its four-year history, despite activist campaigns to boycott donations.

Officials raised $1,716,124 for Giving Day, a 24-hour fundraising period, topping $1 million in donations for the third year in a row. The Columbian College of Arts & Sciences earned $738,539 from 335 donors, the largest donation to any one of the funding options for the second year in a row.

This year’s Giving Day, which ran from April 3 at noon to April 4 at 3 p.m. — extending three more hours for a “Scholarship Sprint” — also marks the second year that the fundraising event encompassed two days to attract more donors. Officials received donations from 3,487 donors, the largest number of contributors to Giving Day in its history, and surpassed their 3,000 donor goal, trumping the 3,193 donors last year.

GW Alumni for Palestine created a petition urging alumni to cease donations to the University and donate to Gaza aid efforts. The petition calls on the University to reverse Students for Justice in Palestine’s suspension, protect Palestinian students from harassment and hate and divest from GW’s alleged ties to Israel. By the end of Giving Day, the petition received 284 signatures out of its 1,000 signature goal.

“As alumni of this University, we steadfastly pledge to withhold all donations to George Washington University and its affiliates and encourage our peers and families to do the same; GWU has a low alumni donation rate and we intend to sink it further until our demands are met,” GW Alumni for Palestine’s petition states.

GW had the lowest alumni giving rate amongst its 12 peer schools in 2019.

SJP is not listed as a funding option on the Giving Day 2024 website, despite its previous listing on last year’s Giving Day website. Officials in November suspended the group from organizing on-campus activities until March 8 and banned the group from posting communications on campus until May 20 after four of its members projected anti-Israel messages on Gelman Library in October.

GW Reproductive Autonomy and Gender Equity also created a petition calling on community members to withhold donations to the University and donate to the D.C. Abortion Fund until GW commits to providing medication abortion. The Student Government Association Senate unanimously passed a bill in February urging officials to offer abortion pills in the Student Health Center. Dean of Student Colette Coleman declined to comment on whether the health center plans to implement the request.

“GW has had countless opportunities to respond to student demands and GW RAGE and our allies have tried to engage the university in a variety of forums, yet GW continues to be beholden to their imagined anti-choice donors,” RAGE’s petition states.

The Division of Development and Alumni Relations hired a team of 10 student marketing and communications specialists last spring to contact alumni and create videos to solicit donations. The team made 10 videos advertising Giving Day last year, earning up to 6,000 views on their most-viewed clips on the GW Alumni X account.

The student marketing specialists posted about six videos this week, featuring the team acting as news anchors to advertise the fundraising event.

Alumni Association President Maxwell Gocala-Nguyen said in February that officials had raised $8.1 million of their $12.9 million goal for fiscal year 2024, slightly ahead of their donations from February 2023.

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About the Contributor
Ianne Salvosa, Managing Editor
Ianne Salvosa, a junior majoring in journalism and international affairs from Lake Saint Louis, Missouri, is the 2024-25 managing editor for The Hatchet. She was previously a news editor and assistant news editor for the administration and finance beat and a contributing news editor for the academics and administration beats.
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