Originally published in The Hoya, January 17, 2018
SaxaFund, a crowdfunding platform for Georgetown University student initiatives launched last March, announced Thursday five campaigns it is sponsoring for donations on its new website.
The five projects include the Leavey Beergarden, a $3,000 concept that would turn part of the Leavey Esplanade into a social hub for drinking-age students with six beer hall tables, a heat lamp and a set of cornhole boards. A second project, Hilltop Compost, hopes to raise $1,215 to develop an independent composting service for campus events.
SaxaFund is also fundraising for a stipend program for off-campus mental health therapy as advocated by the Georgetown University Student Association, as well as for We for She, a project that aims to install free feminine hygiene product dispensers in all public on-campus restrooms.
Finally, the platform is sponsoring the Citizenship Scholarship, which will subsidize the citizenship process for four immigrant facilities workers. Started by the philanthropy branch of Students of Georgetown, Inc., the scholarship project has been operated since 2016 by The Corp’s Social Impact Committee, a team tasked to implement initiatives dedicated to philanthropic ventures that serve the wider campus community.
SaxaFund is a student-alumni collaboration between GUSA, the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union and The Corp. Projects on SaxaFund receive funding primarily from alumni donations. At press time, the five current projects have raised a total of $490.14. SaxaFund operates as an entity that is independent from the university.
Any Georgetown student or on-campus student organization can submit a project proposal to SaxaFund. The SaxaFund board is composed of students from The Corp, GUSA and GUASFCU, as well as Ann Yang (SFS ’16), Phil Wong (SFS ’15) and George Peacock (COL ’84), all of whom are alumni and faculty representatives. The board reviews and votes on the eligibility of the projects based on criteria established on the SaxaFund website.
A crucial criterion in the board’s evaluation is the magnitude of the project’s impact on the Georgetown community, according to Max Rosner (SFS ’18), executive director of SaxaFund.
Once the SaxaFund board selects a project to feature, it works with the teams behind the projects to ensure that their fundraising plans are feasible. Donations to projects are processed through PayPal and sent directly to SaxaFund’s bank account at GUASFCU, according to the SaxaFund website. SaxaFund then transfers the donations to the project team either after a project meets its goal or passes its deadline.
The fund enables effective and pertinent improvements for the Georgetown community, according to Rosner.
“Normally, GUSA, The Corp and GUASFCU all have their own interests, missions and approaches to improving campus,” Rosner wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Saxafund is so unique because it brings these groups to the table while still improving the campus in a really organic and grassroots way.”
The Citizenship Scholarship project is one of several proposals introduced by The Corp’s Philanthropy Committee that raises funds for other student groups, individuals or the university.
The Corp plans to source funding for the project from SaxaFund temporarily, until it can receive institutional support from the university, Corp CEO Melina Hsiao (COL ’18) said.
“We hope that the Citizenship Scholarship will be similarly supported by Georgetown; however, until this can be confirmed, we want to ensure we could continue to support this scholarship fund,” Hsiao said. “We thought that SaxaFund was the perfect platform for finding this support.”
While only five projects are currently live on the website, the platform plans to expand the campaigns offered once the financial goals of the current projects are reached, according to Rosner.
These five projects are not the first that SaxaFund has sponsored. Three student initiatives successfully received funding from online community donations through SaxaFund last year, including portable field lights for club sports teams, a student-produced film and a GUASFCU program for building credit history.