Jim Gaffigan, John Mulaney, and Mike Birbiglia onstage at Stand Up for Georgetown, May 1, 2023, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
Called to Be: Access & Excellence

Title:Sold-out comedy fundraiser supports Georgetown Scholars Program

Author: Gabrielle Barone
Date Published: May 22, 2023

Georgetown alumni and friends gathered on May 1 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the second Stand Up for Georgetown comedy fundraiser. The twice sold-out fundraising event raised $1 million in 2019 and over $1.7 million in 2023 to support undergraduates in the Georgetown Scholars Program (GSP).

Stand Up for Georgetown was co-founded in 2019 by Jim (B’88) and Jeannie Gaffigan (Parents’26) and Emily Chen Carrera (B’88). Gaffigan’s father Michael (SFS’57, Parent’87, ’88) was a first-generation college student at Georgetown, inspiring Jim to support the Georgetown Scholars Program. GSP’s mission is to work towards a more equitable college experience for first-generation and low-income college students, providing them with resources, mentors, and a robust support system within a tight-knit community.

The event featured performances by Gaffigan, John Mulaney (C’04), and Mike Birbiglia (C’00). While unable to attend in person, Nick Kroll (C’01) also participated via a pre-recorded video message.

Thanks to sponsorship by alumni and friends, more than 130 GSP students and recent graduates were able to attend the event.

“As an alumna, I couldn’t be more proud,” says co-founder Chen Carrera. “Seeing fabulously talented and successful alumni leveraging their talent for good and being enormously supported shows the strength of the Georgetown community. Stand Up for Georgetown helps to ensure the success of Georgetown’s legacy for students and families of all backgrounds.”

During the event, GSP Executive Director Missy Foy (C’03) accepted a check for $1.5 million on behalf of the GSP.

“It’s incredibly powerful for students to see somebody of these comedians’ caliber talking about a program that they’re participating in and talking about the value that first-generation students bring to our campus,” Foy says. “Many of them did not know that Gaffigan’s dad was a first-generation college graduate.”

“GSP has such dedicated supporters,” says Michelle Mauboussin (B’86, Parent’17, ’19, ’25), Chair Emerita of the GSP Board. “They realize that it’s not just about scholarships to get students to Georgetown, but giving them a support system during their undergraduate years. GSP has been so instrumental in making sure that these students graduate and have a good experience at Georgetown along the way.”

Sabrina Perez (C’24), president of the GSP Student Board, enjoyed a moment during the ceremony when the GSP students in attendance were asked to stand up to be recognized.

“In that moment we were able to remind people what this money is going towards,” Perez says. “It was really special to have all of the GSP students stand up and represent, in a very visual way, our spot at the university,” she says.

Perez felt it was powerful to see so many people coming out to help the university community.

“The number of people, the quality of the comedy, the beautiful venue—it was really fun to escape to New York during finals with my GSP peers, who are my family on campus,” Perez says. “It was a celebration of community, something that was made for us and to support us.

“A lot of times, it feels like you’re going through this alone—especially if your parents didn’t go to college and you’re trying to navigate this new academic space by yourself with the support of GSP,” she continues. “So it was very special to see there’s people you don’t even know who support you and believe in GSP’s mission, to really see the faces behind the financial and overall support of our program.”