The Power of Giving

The Power of Giving
February 24, 2016

With an eye toward the George Washington University’s 2021 bicentennial, the university has launched Making History: The Campaign for GW, designed to turn its ambitions into action. The goal of the campaign: raise $1 billion. Of that amount, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) will provide $225 million by June 30, 2018, to benefit six core areas: students, faculty, research, clinical care, facilities, and new opportunities.

So, how can you help? Dennis Narango, M.A., associate dean and associate vice president for development and alumni relations, provides answers:

What’s your vision for the campaign?

Philanthropy is essential to achieving the school’s top initiatives. With all of the budgetary and financial constraints we face, great academic medical centers rely on robust giving to achieve their goals. Among the priorities are increasing scholarship resources; supporting research interests; expanding the network of the SMHS community; and upgrading the facilities.

Where does the campaign stand right now?

We’ve recently crossed a major milestone by reaching $100 million in total fundraising, and now stand at $103 million. Benefactors have contributed generously to allow us to cross this significant threshold. The task at hand is still significant: we need to reach $225 million.

What are the challenges you face in reaching the $225 million goal?

One challenge is finding donors capable of making substantial, major gifts. Successful campaigns are defined by very large gifts, seven- and even eight-figure gifts. So, we spend a lot of effort trying to identify and approach prospects for those kinds of gifts. At the same time, gifts of all amounts are important, and we want to have as broad a base of participation as possible. We would love to expand our donor base, including both large and small contributions.

Why should SMHS faculty and staff consider donating?

They should donate because the fact is, great institutions have great philanthropy. Institutions that have great philanthropy typically have broad-based support, even from their own faculty and staff. It’s a mark of excellence. Even more importantly, people should give because they believe in the institution and they love the work that they do.

In what ways can they give?

It’s easy to give. Donors may go online to our website, where they can give securely and specify what their gift will support. They can also contact any member of the development staff, if they need more information or want to talk about additional details. SMHS faculty and staff can make a one-time gift, or they can give a larger gift, pledged over a period of years. Every contribution helps.

How have the campaign donations been used?

The emphasis has been on raising funds for scholarships as well as other educational programs, such as the White Coat Initiative, and on raising support funds for faculty, including professorships, and funds that support our clinical programs.

What would you like potential donors to know?

I would like people to feel optimistic and enthusiastic about this fundraising campaign because of what it will mean for our students, our patients, our physicians, and our scientists.  This is all about expanding the excellence of the GW medical and health sciences enterprise.

What would a successful outcome look like?

The outcome would be a wide community of benefactors who support GW generously. Their gifts have a direct impact on the work we do: our mission to teach, heal, discover, and serve.


For more information on giving, visit "Giving Opportunities."