Philanthropy Pitch Served “Oven Fresh”

Last fall Bernard Demczuk, PhD CCAS ’08, attended the We Are GW Faculty & Staff Donor Reception and saw inspiration he could sink his teeth into.

I saw that little cartoon video you all did and I was blown away; I thought it was fabulous,” says GW’s assistant vice president for District relations.

Convinced that every university employee should see the promo for Making History: The Campaign for GW, Demczuk is offering free delivery of the message to his colleagues in the Office of Government and Community Relations.

This summer Assistant Vice President for District Relations Bernard Demczuk, PhD CCAS '08, will pitch Making History: The Campaign for GW to colleagues over pizza.

This summer Assistant Vice President for District Relations Bernard Demczuk, PhD CCAS ’08, will pitch Making History: The Campaign for GW to colleagues over pizza.

“The best way to show this to every employee is in small groups over pizza,” he explains. “If I can get 10 people in a room over pizza and show this video, I can get you 10 contributors.”

We Are GW coordinator Chantele Martin was so impressed she agreed to Demczuk’s plan on the spot.

“Bernard’s enthusiasm was evident right from the start,” recalls Martin. “I hope more faculty and staff are as excited about supporting GW as he is. Getting the message with a slice of pizza can’t hurt.”

While pizza might get an employee to the table, Demczuk’s reason for giving to GW is more parochial.

“I absolutely believe in the mission of the university,” he says. “I particularly believe in getting more D.C. Public School students at GW.”

To that end, Demczuk has been giving to the Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship for 16 years. Each year since 1989, the SJT Scholarship has awarded eight District students a four-year GW education at no cost.

“I believe in the D.C. Public School system,” explains Demczuk. “I teach a course at the School Without Walls, a D.C. public school, and I wanted to see more D.C. kids here at the university since this is their hometown. That’s why I originally started giving.”

Nearly two decades later, Demczuk’s conviction has only increased. In fact, he hopes to double the amount of SJT Scholarships over the next 25 years.

“We’re in our twenty-fifth year of the Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarships, and I always am part of that prize patrol. I see the direct impact of this money, where it goes, and I follow these kids here at GW,” says Demczuk. “I see directly the impact – and it’s good.”

And while people have different tastes when it comes to toppings, they also have different reasons for giving to GW. The ability to earmark your gift is an important part of Demczuk’s pitch.

“Everybody has a special interest,” says Demczuk as he looks around his office. “This guy might be Athletics. This woman might be science and technology. This guy over here might be sustainability. I think it’s important that, if you give, you can request to the university that it be in an area you’re most interested in.”

Still, according to Demczuk, the most important thing is that his colleagues give back.

“The university gets stronger and does more for both the community and the employees when everybody gives just a little bit back to the organization,” says Demczuk. “The organization is only as strong as its employees and its students make it.

“It makes perfect sense to me,” he continues, “that if every employee gave just a little bit … Suppose we had 50 percent participation! What would that mean? That would be an enormous impact.”


The “We Are GW” Faculty & Staff Campaign encourages all George Washington University employees to support GW’s programs and initiatives.

Author: Craig Burdick

Craig Burdick is a writer on GW's development communications team. If you have a story idea, let him know at

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