Why I Give Back

Steve LaForte, BA ‘86, JD ‘93

March 7, 2019


Steve LaFort, BA '86, JD '93


At GW, we are grateful for the many alumni who consider the George Washington University in their annual giving plans. Their support provides scholarships and financial aid and allows GW to expand and grow as an elite university in the heart of the nation’s capital. Read why Steve makes it a priority to give back to his alma mater.

What did your time as a GW student mean to you?

GW gave me a platform to a wider world. I came from a small town of 5,000 people in Connecticut. We didn't talk about world affairs and public policy at the dinner table. I went to a school that allowed me to be immersed with kids from all over the country and to intern and work on Capitol Hill. There’s a healthy competitive atmosphere at GW and a support structure among the students that pushed me to succeed.

Why is giving back to GW important to you?

To me, it’s giving back for the gifts that I got and paying it forward for the next generation. I was a first-generation college student. My parents were the children of Italian immigrants. The highest schooling they achieved was high school. It was a gift to me to get a scholarship and financial aid that allowed me to attend GW both for undergrad and to be able to stay there for law school.

What makes giving to GW, specifically, a worthy investment?

As an elite school in the heart of the nation's capital, GW is unique. I think that GW, in particular, gives students a unique platform to impact decisions in arenas like public policy that affect all Americans and resonate internationally. Giving to GW creates opportunities for students they won’t find other places.

When did you realize that giving back was worthwhile?

It took me a little while after being out of school to get to that realization point, but when I looked at the gifts and benefits and lifelong foundations that GW gave me, that became a really compelling impetus to want to give back and be active with both my time and donating.

What do you share with alumni who are considering giving back?

To younger alumni who are establishing their careers, their families, and their futures, I say, it’s not about the amount; it’s about the concept. Even if it’s $5 a month, once you get in the habit of giving, it becomes part of who you are, and it affects lives in a real way.

To older alumni, I ask them to take the journey I did. Look at your experience at GW through a mature lens, and think about where you are now and what your time at GW meant to you. It’s almost impossible that it didn’t shape or form who you are and give you an opportunity to become the best you you could be.

For anyone who considers giving back, when you commit to the concept, you become a leader in giving regardless of the amount. You create an example for others.