Philanthropy in Support of Those Who Serve

Some 3,400 students at George Mason University—one out of every ten—is a veteran, a current military service member, or the dependent of one. As one of the country’s premier military-friendly universities, Mason has an extensive set of programs to help those who serve succeed in their new chosen paths.

That impressive statistic was one of the key messages heard at the most recent Mason Matters reception, hosted by Ali and Farzaneh Saadat on May 26 at Washington Golf & Country Club in Arlington. Mr. Saadat, a member of the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees, is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who focuses on helping children and families. He is the founder and former chairman of FedBid, and recently launched a new firm, FundsFlo, which provides secure online payment processing for large-dollar purchases. (The Saadats are also Mason parents: their son, Sean, received his BS in Biology from Mason in 2013, and is currently attending medical school at George Washington University).

Jennifer Connors, Director of the Office of Military Services at Mason, spoke to the gathered guests about how Mason serves veterans and their families. One of many examples is the Mason Veteran Scholarship Endowment, which awards a $1,000 need-based scholarship to one veteran each year to supplement funding provided by the federal GI bill. The scholarship fund was begun by Joshua Lawton, BA History ’10, while he was still a student at Mason. Lawton, who served two tours in Iraq as a combat medic and has an impressive record of advocacy for veterans, attended the reception as well.

President Ángel Cabrera delivered remarks on the vision for Mason and the exceptional progress the university is making through the support of committed private donors. Cabrera described one important funding need, a university-wide Veterans Initiative, which will strengthen vital services and help fund new academic programs geared towards veterans, including cybersecurity, health services, and nursing, among others.

The reception was one in a series of Mason Matters events being hosted throughout 2016 by members of the Board of Trustees and other friends of Mason as part of Faster Farther, the university’s comprehensive $500 million campaign. Faster Farther entered its public phase in September 2015 and has recently passed the $450 million mark. Notwithstanding that success, many funding needs remain, as demonstrated by the evening’s focus on those who serve our country. It was a fitting reminder in advance of Memorial Day weekend.

Giving Opportunities

If you are interested in supporting Mason’s efforts on behalf of veterans, military members, and their families, please consider making a gift to the Veteran Scholarship Endowment or the broader Veterans Initiative. For information, please contact Brock Field, Director of Leadership Gifts, at 703-993-7992 (or by email at bfield4@gmu.edu).

May 31, 2016 / RR