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A University fundraising official will take his talents to the “real Mount Vernon,” as the new senior vice president for development at George Washington’s estate in Virginia, according to a release from the estate.

Joe Bondi, a two-time alumnus, most recently served as the assistant vice president for development, campus and community. Before that, he filled multiple positions in the development office in his 15 years as a GW employee.

“Bondi will join Mount Vernon’s management team in shaping the strategic direction for Mount Vernon’s future success,” the release reads. “He will oversee the planning and execution of the philanthropic strategy supporting the preservation and maintenance of George Washington’s beloved home.”

Bondi was a key player in the development office during the $1 billion capital campaign, which launched in 2014 and is expected to reach its goal this June.

He managed fundraising units like the Parents Campaign, GW Athletics, the GW Museum and Textile Museum, the GW Libraries and the Division of Student Affairs, as well as oversaw fundraising in the Power & Promise scholarship fund, The GW Hatchet, GW Hillel and veteran initiatives, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Dean of Students Peter Konwerski tweeted last month congratulating Bondi on his new position.

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Rachel Brown, the assistant provost for University Career Services said the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund received $200,000 in donations last fiscal year. Hatchet file photo.

Updated: Aug. 4, 2016 at 10:15 a.m.

Over $200,000 in new donations from alumni, parents and trustees will fund students’ unpaid internships this year.

The Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund surpassed its $100,000 fundraising goal last fiscal year, officials said. The total amount raised includes a $100,000 matching gift from Trustee Scott Amey, his wife Debbie Amey and Trustee Steven Ross.

Rachel Brown, the assistant provost for University Career Services, said in an emailed statement that some of the money raised in the past fiscal year has been awarded to students already and the rest will be awarded in the coming year.

“We are so pleased to have support from so many in our GW community, because we have seen just how important these awards are to our students and their professional development,” Brown said.

Since the fund was launched in 2013, more than 265 students have received awards, Brown said. The grants, which reach up to $3,000, have totaled $450,000 over the past three years.

University officials have said the fund was publicized to more donors over the past few years as part of a three-year career services overhaul. The fund benefited from Mark Shenkman’s $5 million gift, which supported the career services center and renamed Shenkman Hall.

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Monday, Aug. 1, 2016 5:02 p.m.

Fundraising campaign tops $875 million

Updated: Aug. 2, 2016 at 1:40 p.m.

Officials have raised more than $875 million for the $1 billion campaign as of the end of July, according to a University release.

This new total is about a 4.8 percent increase since February of this year. About $770 million had been raised by this time last fiscal year.

University officials said that student aid will be the primary focus of the campaign during fiscal year 2017, which will coincide with University President Steven Knapp’s final year at GW.

“Philanthropic support for student aid will be a priority in the coming year as the university seeks to further President Steven Knapp’s legacy of increasing access to a GW education and improving success rates of all students once enrolled,” the release stated.

Sixty thousand individual donors have given to campaign so far, with more than a third of them donating to support students.

Major donations since February include $2.19 million from the Avenir Foundation to create an endowment for the Textile Museum and roughly $87,000 from the annual Senior Class Gift.

Aristide Collins, the vice president for development and alumni relations, said that fundraising during the next fiscal year will prioritize improving student experiences.

“In the final year of President Knapp’s tenure, we are encouraging our alumni, parents and friends to make a philanthropic commitment to support GW students,” Collins said in the release. “Student scholarship and fellowship support through our Power & Promise initiative is a key priority, but athletics, student services and career services also are essential elements of our overall focus on enhancing the student experience.”

Officials still plan to reach their goal of $1 billion by June 2018, according to the release. The campaign, which publicly launched in June 2014, has raised more than $500 million over the past two years.

This post has been updated to reflect the following correction:
Due to an editing error, the Hatchet incorrectly stated when the campaign will end. Officials plan to reach $1 billion by June 2018, not June 2017. We regret this error.

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Board of Trustees Chairman Nelson Carbonell, Senior Class Gift coordinators Kristen Barnes, Juman Kekhia and Cindy Swanson and University President Steven Knapp celebrated reaching a goal of 62 percent participation from seniors in the annual fundraising campaign. Ashley Le  | Hatchet Photographer

Board of Trustees Chairman Nelson Carbonell, Senior Class Gift coordinators Kristen Barnes, Juman Kekhia and Cindy Swanson, and University President Steven Knapp celebrated reaching a goal of 62 percent participation from seniors in the annual fundraising campaign. Ashley Le | Hatchet Photographer

The Class of 2016 set a new participation record in their annual fundraising campaign, with 62.7 percent of seniors donating a total of $87,553.

That total was about $40,000 less than last year’s gift, which holds a class gift record at $128,000. The Class of 2015 also previously held the participation record, with 60 percent.

This year’s campaign will continue accepting donations to the campaign until June 30.

Nelson Carbonell, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, who has matched donations to the gift in past years, thanked the senior class for their donations.

“Today we proudly acknowledge you as new alumni for the George Washington University, but more importantly, donors and supporters for the future,” Carbonell said.

University President Steven Knapp called the senior class “extraordinarily dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others.”

“That’s why you’ve come here, to make history,” he said, invoking the name of GW’s $1 billion campaign. “You’ve done that, and you’re helping us do that today with this gift.”

The Senior Class Gift is a decades-old tradition that encourages seniors to contribute to the University before graduating. Students can donate to any program, organization or department they wish, and a series of events throughout the year, like happy hours, give students multiple opportunities to make a donation.

Juman Kekhia, the lead coordinator of the campaign, presented Knapp with the check at Thursday’s event, along with assistant coordinators Kristen Barnes and Cindy Swanson. Kekhia said encouraging a high number of students to donate any amount was more important than raising a six-figure number because it motivates more students to give to GW in the future.

“Rather than getting in peoples faces asking for large amounts of money, we wanted to really push the idea that you’re giving back and that’s what matters,” Kekhia said. “That’s what we wanted to cement in seniors’ minds.”

Swanson said donating a small amount now could inspire students to give larger amounts in the years to come.

“It’s important that students, they contribute what they can, and that’re more important,” Swanson said. “Maybe as they go on in life that will change, but just staying involved at any level is really important.”

The coordinators of the campaign set a record participation goal this year, asking 62 percent of the senior class to donate. This year’s campaign focused especially on increasing participation from members of the Greek life community.

Kekhia said a series of last-minute fundraising pushes helped push the campaign over the edge. In April, a parent and alumnus promised a $10,000 gift if 250 new donations were made during the month.

Kekhia said participation increased significantly during that month, unlocking the gift. Gifts of this kind are common for the senior campaign – during last year’s campaign, an anonymous donor spent a week matching gifts up to $3,000.

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said that as final gifts to the campaign roll in, he hopes that senior participation may hit 63 or 64 percent.

“Anytime we can achieve our goals and raise higher and do all that we can, we want to celebrate,” Konwerski said. “These are an amazing group of graduates and we’re happy to have had them for four years, but also to have them as alumni for life.”

Aristide Collins, the vice president of development and alumni relations, said the Senior Class Gift will contribute to the University’s major fundraising campaign, which is set to raise $1 billion by June 2018. The campaign has raised $852 million as of April 27.

“It starts them on the path to be generous alumni donors in the future,” Collins said. “This is always a nice way to celebrate their commencement, their ceremony, their achievement, but also it shows how committed they are to giving back to the university.”

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Updated: Jan. 27, 2016 at 12:52 p.m.

The John L. Loeb Jr. Foundation and the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom donated $2.5 million to start a religious freedom institute at GW, the University announced Wednesday.

The institute will be housed within the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, according to a release. The institute will officially start this spring and will serve as a hub for religion, peace studies, political science and history.

“George Washington’s ringing defense of religious freedom continues to inspire our nation to this day,” University President Steven Knapp said in a release. “The university that bears his name is proud to become the new home of a distinguished institute dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of that legacy.”

Loeb founded the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom in 2009. He was a trustee of American University and served on several committees at Harvard University. He was the U.S. ambassador to Denmark from 1981 to 1983 and a delegate to the 38th session of the United Nations General Assembly, according to a brief biography on the Loeb Institute site.

CCAS Dean Ben Vinson said in the release that Loeb’s gift “will be transformational for students and faculty across academic disciplines as they address the pressing issues of religious diversity and freedom in contemporary society.”

Officials will appoint an executive director to lead the institute, according to the release.

Alumnus Gilbert Cisneros and his wife Jacki Cisneros started another institute within CCAS, the Cisneros Leadership Institute, with a $7 million gift last May.

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This blog post was written by Hatchet reporter Lauren Gomez.

At 36 years old, alumnus Jason Franklin landed a spot on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “40 Under 40” list.

Franklin, who graduated from GW with a degree in political communication in 2002, was honored for his philanthropic work, including a new position as the W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, which he began last June. Franklin told the Chronicle he hopes to use his academic position, which focuses on community research and advocacy, to figure out the best way to get donations where they need to go.

“I’m part of the field, but I don’t have a stake in any organization’s priority,” Franklin told the Chronicle.

Before starting his new post at Grand Valley State, Franklin was the first president of the New York-based nonprofit Bolder Giving, which provides free programs and resources that promote philanthropy, according to the Chronicle profile. Bolder Giving has been acknowledged by philanthropist Melinda Gates as an inspiration for her Giving Pledge, which encourages the mega-rich to donate the majority of their wealth.

Franklin has also held positions at the Office of National AIDS policy and the 21st Century School Fund, according to a Grand Valley State website. While working toward a PhD in public administration at New York University, Franklin served as an adjunct professor, coordinated NYU’s Next Generation Leadership Network and became executive director of Bolder Giving.

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Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 10:25 a.m.

Class of 1965 wins donation challenge

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Brigid Godfrey.

With 18 percent partiticaption, the Class of 1965 donated the most to the University in a two-day fundraising blitz, according to a University release.

In honor of Alumni Weekend, an anonymous donor offered to give $25,000 to the University in honor of the class whose members donated the most during the weekend. Eleven classes competed for the added donation. The release does not say how much GW received overall during Alumni Weekend.

Jeremy Gosbee, the president of the Alumni Association, said he wasn’t shocked by the class’ victory.

“It’s not a big surprise that the class of 1965 ended up winning. The 50th anniversary is sort of a milestone reunion for our alumni,” Gosbee said in an interview. “We usually see more participation in the reunion itself with the 50th anniversary class.”

The Class of 1965 was followed closely by the Class of 2014, with 14 percent of its students donating. Gosbee said the Senior Class Gift Campaign, which raised nearly $130,000 last academic year, has gotten the students in the swing of donating.

“The Senior Class Gift program has been growing year after year over the past several years, and so I’m excited to see that people who just recently graduated and most likely participated in the Senior Class Gift continue to give to the University, that’s a really positive sign for the future,” Gosbee said.

Experts have said that the Senior Class Gift campaign, whose participation rate goal increased to 62 percent of students this year, helps students understand the benefits of giving back to the University. The campaign is part of a push from fundraising officials to engage current students and young alumni in fundraising.

The fundraising challenge during Alumni Weekend will bring GW closer to its $1 billion goal, which University President Steven Knapp said last week has raised more than $800 million.

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Updated: Aug. 4, 2015 at 2:10 p.m.

A long-standing art educator and former director of multiple art institutes will serve as the first-ever director of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, the University announced Tuesday.

Sanjit Sethi was the director of the Santa Fe Institute of Art for two years, where he ran programs that connected art students with other artists in the Sante Fe, N.M. area and around the world and collaborated with humanitarian groups like the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Taiwanese Ministry of Culture.

Sethi also led a fundraising campaign to renovate the institute and won funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for the project. GW plans to spendat least $25 million renovating the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which University President Steven Knapp said would have to be paid for partially through fundraising. Sethi’s connections could also help grow the Corcoran’s donor base, something GW’s fundraising officials have promised to focus on.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of a legacy institution like the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at the George Washington University,” Sethi said in a University release. “I look forward to working with students, faculty, staff and administrators across the Corcoran and GW to cultivate diverse forms of creative practice and educate the next generation of critical problem-solvers.”

Senthi will oversee the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ transition of GW’s theater and dance programs to the Corcoran School, a move Provost Steven Lerman said would happen over the course of a few years. GW absorbed the historic art school last year.

Before working at SFIA, Sethi had experience working in higher education art as the director of the Center for Art and Public Life at the California College of the Arts. Sethi has exhibits of his own artwork on display around the world, including a collaborative work called “Building Nomads Project” in Bangalore, India, which he worked on as a Fulbright Scholar.

Dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Ben Vinson called Sethi “an accomplished artist and administrator” who is skilled in developing partnerships in the art world.

“In the course of his career, he has displayed a rare sensitivity to connecting with communities and promoting art for the greater good,” Vinson said in a release.

Sethi will begin his post as director on Oct. 1. He was selected by a panel of students, faculty, staff and alumni, who met with a search firm earlier this year. Last year, Vinson said the search was prioritizing candidates who would ease the school’s transition into the Columbian College.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported the University announced Sethi’s position on Monday. The University announced his position on Tuesday. We regret this error.

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Updated: July 28, 2015 at 2:32 p.m.

GW tallied $230 million in gifts last fiscal year, marking the biggest fundraising year in University history.

In total, officials have raked in more than $770 million in donations since the $1 billion campaign began four years ago. The gifts collected in the last fiscal year mark a 21-percent increase from the year before, a positive sign for a school that has consistently aimed to grow its donor base.

Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Aristide Collins confirmed in a statement that he expects all schools and units of the University to reach their specific campaign goals. The campaign has three years left, and officials had raised about half of the goal before the campaign publicly launched last summer.

“The momentum we have achieved is enabling us to focus on unmet needs,” Collins said. “We look forward to engaging an even broader spectrum of alumni, faculty and staff and friends as the campaign proceeds.”

Twenty-three donors made gifts of more than $1 million, three fewer than in fiscal year 2014. In total, 200 donors have given gifts larger than $100,000, according to a release, which made up 88 percent of the total fundraising haul. University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said the number of donations held steady with fiscal year 2014, and totaled about 22,000 donors, but annual giving amounts increased in the last fiscal year.

In May, alumnus Gilbert Cisneros and his wife donated $7 million to establish the GW Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute and a scholarship fund for Hispanic students. Other gifts include $30 million from Siemens and $1 million from trustee and 1976 alumnus George Wellde to the Center for Career Services.

Assets gained from the University’s takeover of the Corcoran College of Art + Design, worth about $28 million, according to 2012 tax filings, were also included in last fiscal year’s donation total.

The amount given by donors who pledged annual gifts increased by 25 percent last fiscal year, the fourth year that annual gifts have increased. GW received about $15 million in annual gifts last fiscal year, according to the release.

Donations from undergraduate alumni grew by 5 percent last fiscal year. GW has historically had rates of alumni donations that are lower than its peers. Fundraising blitzes like Flag Day held during the last academic year were used to spur on donations from young alumni. Sixty percent of the past graduating class of seniors made gifts to the University, the highest-ever participation to the Senior Class gift campaign.

Nearly 57,000 people have contributed to the $1 billion fundraising campaign that went public last June, according to the campaign’s website.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar declined to provide a monthly breakdown of fundraising totals and the average amount of each donation. She said that averages “can be skewed based on large gifts.” The release also did not say how many people donated to the University last fiscal year. About 22,000 people donated in fiscal year 2014.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the number of people who made annual gifts increased by 25 percent. The amount of annual gifts actually increased by 25 percent. We regret this error.

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GW officials are taking more than 2,500 alumni’s checks to the bank this week — and two of them total more than $60,000.

An anonymous alumnus pledged $50,000 to GW if 2,015 alumni donated during June, and the University met that goal. The last week of June, Jeffrey Feinstein, a 2005 alumnus of the GW School of Business, offered $12,500 if another 500 alumni made donations — a goal that alumni also reached.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar declined to say how much money was raised in the month-long period because that figure will not be available for several weeks. The donation website shows that 2,529 alumni made donations.

The fundraising blitz comes about a year after officials launched the University’s largest-ever fundraising campaign. GW has raised about $740 million toward that $1 billion goal. More than 56,000 people have donated to the campaign, a key indicator of efforts to grow the University’s donor pool.

Experts have said that short-term fundraising campaigns offer a sense of urgency for donors to give. Csellar previously said that the most popular times to donate are during June and December.

The June fundraising push is just one of the University’s recent fundraising pushes. For example, University officials held their first “Flag Day” in April, which encouraged current students and young alumni to donate.

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