healy hall with blue skies and clouds behind
Category: Fall 2020, Georgetown Magazine

Title:Community gives to meet the economic challenges of COVID-19

Author: Camille Scarborough
Date Published: November 18, 2020

90 Days by the Numbers ( from june - august 2020, there was $42 million in gifts, more than 9700 donors, 200+ virutal events, and more than 21 thousand event registrants

Seeking to reinforce community bonds during a time of physical dislocation and to help lay the foundation for success in the 2020-21 academic year, Georgetown introduced 90 Days with Georgetown in early June. This summer-long initiative brought thousands of alumni together through virtual events and raised millions of dollars in support of two crucial priorities that will directly and immediately strengthen Georgetown: the university’s COVID-19 response and student financial aid.

Hoyas from around the world participated, with more than 20,000 members of the Georgetown community registering for virtual events and 9,000 committing $40 million to the university. These funds are critical to mission continuity, offsetting some of the university’s COVID-19-related operational losses from the end of fiscal year 2020 and enabling the university to start 2021 in a stronger position to tackle a wide range of pandemic-related challenges, such as significantly increased financial aid need, campus public health infrastructure requirements, and additional investments in technology and pedagogy to facilitate virtual learning.

Most importantly, 90 Days with Georgetown reinforced community bonds at a time when many families faced serious health and financial concerns, many frontline workers toiled day and night, and everyone felt the burden of loneliness, worry, and heartache.

90 Days with Georgetown reminded us that we are all Hoyas, and we are all in this together.

Mission continuity

From the earliest signs of the novel coronavirus in January 2020, Georgetown has been guided by a commitment to the health and safety of its community. In early March, the university decided to pivot to a virtual learning environment, a transition that George- town approached with a particular concern for the needs and well-being of students.

“If I’ve learned one thing these last several months, it’s that Georgetown is everywhere. Even when we are not physically together, we are united in spirit and values; we are connected through the work of learning and teaching; and we are living our commitment to being people for others.”

R. Bartley Moore (SFS’87), Vice President, Advancement

From ensuring their safe travel home, shipping or storing belongings left on campus, and providing internet broadband access, to offering continued on-campus housing and other critical services to the small number of students who could not return to their permanent addresses, the university sought to provide the support students needed. In addition, the university refunded prorated room and board costs to all students, including those receiving financial aid, to ensure continued food and housing security for the semester.

Meanwhile, Georgetown quickly shifted to virtual learning for all students, a transition facilitated by the university’s more than 20-year investment in technology-enhanced and technology-aided teaching and learning. As a result, students were able to finish their semester’s work; seniors and graduate students in their final years were able to graduate on time; and the university was able to successfully start the 2020–21 academic year in virtual mode, in accordance with public health guidance provided by the District of Columbia.

Community strength

With live events canceled due to social distancing requirements, the university’s Office of Advancement worked with alumni volunteers across the country to set up more than 200 virtual experiences to elevate alumni connectivity during the summer months. Optional donations supported the 90 Days initiative.

But even with careful financial discipline, Georgetown is likely to face a larger deficit in fiscal year 2021—the projected gap is currently estimated at $40 million.

Keeping Georgetown campuses safe and healthy in the short-term will require everything from testing to PPE to signage to technology upgrades. But beyond that, gifts are needed to safeguard long-term institutional health and the university’s decades-long commitment to access and affordability.

Go to giving.georgetown.edu to read more about Georgetown’s priorities moving forward and consider making a gift of any size to support mission continuity.

More from this Issue

Coach Thompson at podium

At 6 feet, 10 inches tall, Coach John Thompson Jr.—affectionately known as “Big John”—stood above many as an athlete, pioneering NCAA coach, architect of the Big East, three-time Olympian, and…

medical students with pipettes in lab

Above: Aline de Souza, M.D., (left) and Xie Wu (right) do RNA prep for ACE2 studies led by Hong Ji, M.D. When the pandemic began widening in March 2020, Georgetown…

Rio Djiwandana

The Crown Heights community is made up of mostly low-income families of color. The vast majority of my students identify as Afro-Caribbean and are from countries such as Jamaica,…