Class of 2012 Sets Giving Record, Earns $1 Million Challenge Grant

The Georgetown University Class of 2012 has made history by breaking three giving records—dollars raised, participation rate and total number of donors—and qualified for a $1 million challenge grant from a Georgetown alumni parent couple. The student gift also qualified for a matching grant from the Board of Regents.

Student gifts will still be tallied up through June 30, but as of May 17, seniors had raised more than $63,000, far eclipsing the Class of 2010 record of $35,110. To date, 1,212 students have contributed to the Class of 2012 Fund, representing 70 percent of seniors, both of which bested the records set by the Class of 2011.

The students rose to a challenge issued by James (B’80) and Elizabeth (NHS’80) Eisenstein that was dubbed “1 Million Reasons to Give.” The couple, whose daughter Katie (C’12) is senior class gift chair, committed to make a $1 million gift to the 1789 Scholarship Imperative if seniors surpassed the 59 percent participation rate of last year’s graduating class. (The challenge was first issued anonymously in April, but the Eisensteins recently allowed Georgetown to identify them as the donors in hopes that it will spark other parents to make a gift to Georgetown in honor of their child’s graduation. Even daughter Katie did not know that her parents were the donors.)

“We didn’t want to step forward before the senior convocation because we wanted the spotlight to shine on the seniors—this is their moment and their accomplishment,” said Elizabeth Eisenstein, who chairs the College Board of Advisors. “It’s also a testament to Katie’s hard work as chair.”

The Eisensteins’ older daughter, Jenny (C’09), chaired her class’ senior class gift fund as well. Their son, James, enters Georgetown this fall.  

“We wanted to support scholarships because it’s such a compelling story,” said James Eisenstein, who chairs the Georgetown Scholarship Program and is a member of the Board of Regents, a university-wide advisory body comprising many of Georgetown's most committed volunteer leaders, including alumni, parents and other friends. “The 1789 Scholarship Imperative gives Georgetown the financial support to compete on equal footing with other elite universities and attract students it wouldn’t otherwise get.”

“The Eisensteins’ generosity demonstrates the best of our Georgetown community and animates our mission to become women and men for others,” said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. “They have inspired our seniors to help us to lay the foundation for generations to come, and I am hopeful that each member of the Class of 2012 will embrace the lifelong tradition of giving back to Georgetown that the Eisensteins have exemplified today.”

In addition to meeting the Eisensteins’ challenge, the seniors also helped their cause through a second initiative launched by the Board of Regents in February. In that challenge, 20 members of the board pledged to match the senior gift total dollar-for-dollar.

The money raised by the seniors will go to the Georgetown Fund, which also supports the 1789 Scholarship Imperative. The students’ gift, combined with the Board of Regents’ matching gift, will fund at least four undergraduate scholarships next year.