Bar None: Support for Student Access Vaults Campaign Forward

Less than a year after the public launch of the $500 million Faster Farther campaign, George Mason University has already received the largest gift in its history: an anonymous donor's landmark gift of $20 million, joined by $10 million from the Charles Koch Foundation, to rename the School of Law and vastly expand its opportunities for students of high promise.

Even for Mason, the speed and strength of the campaign have been astonishing. The $30 million follows a $10 million donation from the Peterson Family Foundation last summer, offering scholarship funding to students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and helping to build a new home for the College of Health and Human Services.

Many factors have led to success up to this point. They include volunteer leadership and loyal alumni dedicated to sharing the Mason story with new friends. The university’s recognition for pathbreaking research and a track record of success in creating engaged global citizens is certainly part of the mixture. Outstanding faculty in the public eye and new facilities for performance and learning, across all three campuses, are also making it clear that Mason is on the move.

Gifts made in the campaign's public phase are validating what regional leaders have long said: that Mason is both a magnet and a magnifier for investment and ideas. With its place of growing prominence in the regional economy, Mason has always provided a strong return. The Faster Farther campaign provides an additional multiplier effect, helping large new gifts inspire even greater philanthropy. In a political climate where state support for higher education is on the wane, the increasing influx of private dollars could not come at a more opportune time. The campaign offers alumni, friends, institutional donors, and other stakeholders a powerful new way to build on a diversity of established strengths that, together, will help advance the common good.

How You Can Help

With friends of every background and perspective joining together for the campaign in support of the Mason vision, opportunity abounds—and what's next seems limited only by the imagination. The School of Law, where $30 million in new funds will directly benefit outstanding students who might not otherwise receive a Mason legal education, still has big dreams that await philanthropic support. Across the university, other schools, colleges, centers, and departments also stand to benefit greatly from coming gifts.

Needs and priorities across the university include additional student scholarships and prizes, faculty chairs and research funds, facilities and equipment. Gifts may be paid in a lump sum or for up to five years, either immediately or via a planned gift such as a bequest, and can include either current-use money or endowment funds to help maintain the university's long-term progress and stability. As a young university, Mason has only a fraction of the endowment funds held by peer institutions—often given through bequests—which can be used for general university support or toward almost any particular purpose. The development office at any school or college can help advise you on the latest specific opportunities and ways to give »

Support from major gifts is important, but every gift is meaningful. For just as major gifts help inspire other philanthropists, smaller recurring gifts from those closest to the university help raise participation rates that can in turn help to draw major gifts. In the end, Mason ideas and Mason students are the winners in a race to go faster and farther. And with Mason alumni and other thoughtful citizens joining together in that race, today's news is only the beginning of what's possible.

March 31, 2016 / LH