Alumni and development hero with image of students thanking donors

Philanthropy & Constituent Engagement



GW will work to strengthen its engagement of its permanent constituency, its alumni, while expanding its network of families and friends. Through this network, the Division of Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) will support the mission and initiatives of GW and provide positive ambassadors of the GW brand around the world.




  • Goal 1: Introduce new university leadership to the alumni, parent and friend communities around the world to bolster GW pride and encourage an ongoing culture of philanthropy and engagement.


  • Goal 2: Develop a fundraising model that balances both the short-term and long-term goals of GW while demonstrating accountability with respect to investment and return.


  • Goal 3: Establish a best-in-class engagement and fundraising operation supported by effective and efficient structures, policies, protocols and processes that best serve the alumni, parent and friend communities.



Initiative Accomplishments


In fiscal 2018, GW surpassed its fundraising goal and raised more than $115 million, thanks to the generous contributions of more than 22,000 donors. These alumni, families, faculty, staff, students, corporations, foundations and friends are enabling the next generation of Colonials to accept unpaid internships, study abroad and take advantage of hundreds of other only-at-GW opportunities. Philanthropy provides classrooms, technology and equipment that support cross-disciplinary teaching and research through new facilities and programs designed to emphasize collaboration in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and liberal arts fields. These are only a few examples of the daily and long-term investments donors make in GW.

The GW community is a worldwide network of Colonials committed to demonstrating and celebrating GW pride. To facilitate this, the university regularly hosts events in D.C. and around the world, where alumni and families can network, enjoy cultural and sporting events and form new relationships personally and professionally. The university is also committed to celebrating the many successes of its alumni and donors and seeks opportunities to share those stories in various outlets.

  • GW Congratulates Donor and Alumnus Mark Shenkman
    In June 2018, GW celebrated the induction of Mark Shenkman, M.B.A. '67, into the Fixed Income Analysts Society, Inc. Hall of Fame at a gala event in New York. As a distinguished alumnus, former trustee and generous donor, Mr. Shenkman inspires GW students to reach new heights, and university representatives and guests were pleased to be present to celebrate his achievements and express the university community’s appreciation for all he does in support of GW.

  • President LeBlanc Travels to Meet GW Community
    During his first academic year as president, Dr. LeBlanc met and shared his vision with members of the university community in Miami, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and New York. The university plans to host additional receptions around the globe with Dr. LeBlanc during the 2018-19 academic year, including Chicago and Atlanta in fall 2018.


To support GW’s lifelong and worldwide constituents, DAR seeks ways to better integrate the student and alumni experience and promote “One GW.” Recently, DAR worked with the Enrollment and the Student Experience unit to unveil a new Admissions & Alumni Welcome Center and with External Relations to give the central DAR office suite a facelift with new photos of campus life. DAR also helps highlight some of GW’s most prominent alumni in various buildings across campus.

These enhancements are driven by a constituent-centric approach to DAR’s work and a desire to spotlight GW’s students, alumni and donors.

  • Meet the DAR Executive Leadership Team
    Donna Arbide has reorganized the DAR Executive Leadership group, welcoming Ellen Beck as the new assistant vice president for GW's Milken Institute School of Public Health and Maryam Henson to the newly created position of associate vice president for central initiatives.

  • Keeping Constituents’ Data Safe
    The university has instituted data security measures, use of a lockbox system and full compliance with payment card industry (PCI) standards, demonstrating a commitment to handling all gifts with utmost care.

  • New Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Named
    Donna Arbide, who has more than 30 years of experience in the field, joined GW in March 2018.




Initiative Sponsor

Vice President of Alumni & Development Donna Arbide

"Although I am new to GW, I have already been so impressed by the university’s lifelong and worldwide community of more than 280,000 alumni. I came here to help create a best-in-class Division of Development and Alumni Relations, and we will be working hard over the next few years to strengthen our engagement with alumni as well as enhance our development efforts to continue to support the success and growth of this historic institution."

Donna ArbideVice President for Development and Alumni Relations

Get in Touch

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