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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

G-Give Thank YouRecently UW Vice President for University Advancement Connie Kravas received an email from a colleague in the UC Berkeley advancement office, forwarding an email he had received from a Berkeley donor, which had been sent to draw his attention a video that her husband, a UW CSE donor, had received from UW CSE. (Apologies – you may need to diagram this in order to comprehend the cast of characters …)

The Berkeley donor wrote: “Check out the great video UW sent back to us – I loved it! I got to see how my $ were used, it was not time intensive, and I got a real feel for the program and its impact. Might be an interesting way to both ‘scale’ and ‘personalize’ donor thank you’s.”

The Berkeley donor’s husband is Alan Eustace, Google’s Senior Vice President, Knowledge. Alan had been a sponsor of the 2012 G-Give program for UW CSE. Alan himself, in follow-up email to UW, said: “The video was a fantastic idea. It really personalized the gift. It wasn’t just a check to a nameless bureaucracy. There was a student on the other side that really appreciated it, and that made all the difference! Congratulations!”

G-Give itself is a wonderful story of the power of UW students. The goal of G-Give is to activate first-time donors – recent Google employees who are not yet using their Google corporate match for gifts. For a 1-week period each December, G-Give features one or two non-profits each day. Gifts to those non-profits made via G-Give are matched twice – once by Google, and once by one or more Googlers who agree to match gifts (up to some limit). (That’s the role that Alan played last year for UW CSE, which is a major supplier of talent to Google. Matching funds were also provided by UW CSE alums Jeff Dean, Brad Fitzpatrick, Ruben Ortega, Charlie Reis, and Bill Brougher.)

G-Give was created in 2011 by UW CSE alums Jessan Hutchison-Quillan and Krista Davis, with help from UW CSE alum Jeff Prouty, all of whom work in Google’s Seattle office. They did it as a “20% project” – Googlers are allowed to spend 20% of their time on projects of their own devising. In 2011, through G-Give, UW CSE’s Google Scholarship endowment – created several years earlier by alums at Google’s Mountain View CA office – was increased by $127,000 through gifts from 100 friends and alumni at Google. In 2012, UW CSE’s Google Scholarship was again featured, and an additional $157,000 was raised from 159 Googlers. G-Give has now become the Google-wide employee giving platform, and Jessan’s full-time assignment.

It all goes to show what can happen when a few UW alums have a great idea and apply the skills they’ve learned to execute a solution!

Take a few minutes to watch the video!