Philanthropy Progress, Goals Presented at Faculty Senate

Faculty also briefed on draft changes to university’s equal opportunity policy.

Donna Arbide at Faculty Senate
Donna Arbide, vice president for development and alumni relations, briefs the Faculty Senate on Friday on her division's goals for fiscal 2019. (Kristen Mitchell/GW Today)
November 12, 2018

Donna Arbide, George Washington University vice president for development and alumni relations, presented an overview of the university’s philanthropy and constituent engagement efforts Friday before the Faculty Senate, highlighting specific fundraising and donor goals motivating her team this year.

“Philanthropy at GW has lots of opportunity,” said Ms. Arbide, who joined GW in March.

For fiscal 2019, the university’s fundraising goal is $115 million and—for the first time, Ms. Arbide said—GW will seek a specific number of alumni donors: 16,000.

To get there, Ms. Arbide said she is using a metrics-based approach to relationship building. For example, fundraisers will seek to meet a targeted number of potential donors—between 70 and 150 each year, depending on the staff member’s position.

“If you are not getting out there to meet your constituents, you’re not raising money,” Ms. Arbide said. “It’s really hard to do it behind your desk.”

Alumni relations staff also are responsible for connecting with a certain number of GW graduates to increase engagement.

Ms. Arbide emphasized the importance of understanding why GW is fundraising, which involves working closely with school deans, the provost’s office and staff to find stories about the impact philanthropy has on the university as well as how it contributes to the university’s mission and current strategic initiatives.

“Articulating what we’re building here at GW is going to be first and foremost what we’re going to align in the next year,” Ms. Arbide said.

The division also is focused on making operational improvements to ensure donations are securely processed and used in the way the donor intended.

Ms. Arbide encouraged faculty to be positive “brand ambassadors,” identify leads for possible donors and work closely with their school’s chief development officer to, for example, create a fundraising plan for a departmental program or a high-profile event. The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, which recently launched a new website, serves as a resource for faculty who want to find funding for various projects.

“I will say fundraising takes a village,” Ms. Arbide said, adding any size donation is welcome and helps show others that those who work at GW believe in its mission. “I need all of your help.”

Equal opportunity policy

Also Friday, Caroline Laguerre-Brown, vice provost for diversity, equity and community engagement, provided an overview of draft changes to the university’s Equal Opportunity Policy Statement. The new policy would be called the Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.

The university began reviewing the equal opportunity policy in the wake of an offensive social media post that circulated online earlier this year.

Ms. Laguerre-Brown said that while the current policy provides broad protection against discrimination and harassment in compliance with applicable law, “we can do better” to articulate that protection.

The draft changes add more information to the policy: definitions of terms, examples of conduct that could constitute violations of the policy and possible sanctions or corrective actions and information regarding where community members can report concerns depending on whether they are students, faculty or staff.

In addition to collecting feedback from the Faculty Senate, the university also will seek feedback from students and staff before submitting it for final approval by the Board of Trustees in May 2019.

“A critical type of statement that we make as a university are the policies we put forward,” Provost Forrest Maltzman said, adding that this includes the equal opportunity policy.

President's comments

In other Faculty Senate news, President Thomas LeBlanc commented on the recent mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., at a bar on an evening when many college students were present.

“Students have a right to feel safe in their communities, whether they’re studying or having fun, and it’s abhorrent that that sense of safety and security has once again been shattered,” he said.

Dr. LeBlanc noted the shooting occurred in California’s 26th congressional district, which is represented by Julia Brownley, B.A. ’75. The university has contacted her office to offer assistance.

The shooting comes shortly after two shootings that appear rooted in intolerance in a single week: one in Jamestown, Ky., and one in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

“I cannot tell you how sorry I am to have to continually address this type of violence and intolerance in our society, and I hope that as a country at some point we reach a tipping point, and we start to do something about it,” Dr. LeBlanc said Friday.

Separately, referring to remarks at this year’s Faculty Assembly, Dr. LeBlanc also reminded faculty to think about what’s next for GW, including some key issues on which he wants input. Dr. LeBlanc also noted the culture assessment concluded the survey phase with strong participation and has progressed to its second phase: in-person interviews with randomly selected faculty and staff.

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