Founded in 1789, Georgetown Preparatory School is the country’s oldest Jesuit day and resident college preparatory school.
In 1999, The Sheridan Group, conducted a feasibility study for Prep that recommended a campaign goal of $25 million. This would be attainable if Prep were to spend six months of pre-campaign preparation, completing the master plan for campus development, solidifying relationships with top leaders and developing advancement programs to support a campaign effort.
The year 2000 brought a serious downturn in the stock market, and 2001 brought 9/11 and the sniper that terrorized the Washington area. The environment created by these events would have caused many organizations to delay their fundraising plans. However Prep’s president, Rev. William George, S.J. and a handful of key leaders and development office staff increased their efforts to cultivate and engage prospects, to form a solid campaign infrastructure and develop a strong and comprehensive communications program.
As times improved, Prep recruited strong leadership, including high profile honorary chairs from the worlds of business and politics who were nationally known. As a result of the previous hard work a number of seven-figure gifts were pledged to the campaign, and these bolstered the confidence of the campaign leadership.
An anonymous $2.5 million matching challenge gift was made in the spring of 2004. The gift promised an additional $2.5 million if the campaign reached $22.5 million by December 31, 2004. Total commitments to the campaign were $13.6 million at that time. With remarkable efforts by Fr. George, the campaign reached $22.5 million on December 27, 2004 and thus received the promised matching grant. The Vision Campaign went public, and Prep completed the effort having raised more than $32 million.
The Sheridan Group’s contribution to this success was a sound, ordered, yet flexible campaign operating plan, the counseling of patience and optimism during difficult times, and the ability to help Prep fine tune its approaches to individuals and constituency groups as the campaign progressed.