This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Education

GW students benefit from philanthropy throughout the year.

GW students
From left to right: GW students Tomi Sodimu, Zachary Stoloff and Theresa Ranni have benefited from the university's generous donors.
December 11, 2017

"I will never forget the day admissions decisions came out," said Zachary Stoloff, George Washington University class of 2018. "I was backstage while performing in “The Sound of Music” when the results were available -- I went online mid-show to check my status and my spirits were instantly lifted. Not only was I accepted to my dream school, I was receiving the Presidential Scholarship in the Arts award. I started crying tears of joy. Along with my financial aid package, it made GW such an easy decision when choosing where to go, and it’s a decision I will never regret."

More than 70 percent of full-time undergraduate students receive financial aid from the university, and philanthropic support from the GW community helps make that a reality.

This community of supporters makes GW feel more like a family, dedicated to ensuring that each member succeeds. George Washington Today sat down with Mr. Stoloff and two of his classmates to learn how they’ve benefited and thrived from the generosity of the GW family:

Theresa Ranni, class of 2019, decided to come to GW for a well-rounded, liberal arts education while also getting real-world experience in the nation’s capital. So thanks to her position with the Institute for International Economic Policy at the Elliott School of International Affairs, she attended the International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings this year as a guest.

When reflecting on the role philanthropy has played in her GW experience, Ms. Ranni said: “GW students, myself included, acknowledge the opportunities that we’ve been gifted and return the favor by giving back to the D.C. community. My student experience has been positively shaped by constantly thinking, ‘How can I help others?’ By keeping this thought in my mind, I am able to apply the knowledge I’ve learned at GW toward causes that improve the lives of those around me.”

Tomi Sodimu, class of 2018, started freshman year in the Elizabeth J. Somers Women's Leadership Program, a living-learning community that develops strong female leaders. She now serves as a mentor in that program and also is involved in the African Student Association, the Black Women's Forum and Lemonade Day, a community-wide program that teaches young people the entrepreneurial skills necessary to own and operate their own businesses. Outside of GW, she is president of the Alicemay Hope Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to providing education to women and female children in the impoverished areas of Lagos, Nigeria. She also recently started an organic skincare company called Simisola Naturals, which sources its main ingredients from West African women at fair living wage. All of this was made possible by a scholarship Ms. Sodimu received.

"This scholarship serves as a reminder that my dreams and endeavors are valid,” she said. “It has empowered me and allowed me to explore and expand my capabilities, as well as the opportunities that GW has to offer. I've met and interacted with incredible people, and I've made invaluable connections. GW has helped shape who I am and how I view the world and without this scholarship, I probably would not be here."

Mr. Stoloff still credits GW and the scholarship with helping him find his academic passion in organizational sciences.

"You have not experienced philanthropy until you have seen it in action at GW," Mr. Stoloff said. "Whether it comes from current students who are teaming up and raising money for causes that are meaningful to them or from the gracious alumni donors who help enhance our academic and extracurricular experiences, philanthropy at GW is on a different level. It is so inspiring to see how committed the GW community is to making "only-at-GW" moments possible for generations to come."

Consider supporting the GW family by making your end-of-year gift today.


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