L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



Hailie Suarez
Hailie Suarez

Transform students' lives

Supporting the Wilder School helps inform public policy through leading-edge research and community engagement and prepares students to be tomorrow’s leaders.

Your Support Matters

There are many ways to give back while supporting tomorrow’s leaders — make a financial gift to the Wilder School, or contact us to discuss mentoring current students, meeting with local graduates or speaking to a class.

To learn more, contact Stevan Dozier, director of development, at doziers2@vcu.edu and (804) 828-6205 or Rachel Zeeve, development and alumni relations coordinator, at zeeverb@vcu.edu and (804) 828-6706

Why I Give Survey

What motivates you to give back to the Wilder School? Complete to this form, and you could be featured on the Wilder School Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages! Your story could also be included in our E-Newsletter and/or the Wilder School in Action Magazine.

Why I Give Survey - Google Forms

Greatest Needs

Wilder School Annual Fund

Annual Fund gifts provide unrestricted current funds that the Wilder School can use where the need is greatest. Gifts support students through scholarships, meetings, conferences, faculty research, access to advanced technology and alumni activities.

Support the Annual Fund  

Wilder School Student Retention Fund

The Student Retention Fund provides financial assistance to Wilder School students who have only a financial hold on their accounts that prevents course registration for the upcoming immediate semester. The Fund supports students with demonstrated need.

Support the Student Retention Fund

Student Support

Wilder School General Scholarship Fund

The Wilder School General Schoolship Fund provides support to deserving students across all degree programs.

Support the General Scholarship Fund 

Dr. Robert D. Holsworth Graduate Student Enrichment Fund

Established in 2020 by Robert D. Holsworth, Ph.D., the founding director the VCU Center for Public Policy and Wilder School. Dr. Holsworth also served as Dean of the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, the largest unit at the university, and was on the VCU Board of Visitors for two terms. Donations support graduate students pursuing program-related items, including coursework, a faculty-led or a faculty-sponsored student academic research project, professional development opportunities and internships.

Support the Holsworth Graduate Student Enrichment Fund

John J. Accordino Fund

This scholarship was founded in 2018 by Dr. Accordino’s family to honor his decades of service as faculty member, scholar, and dean as well as his commitment to improving the quality of life in American communities. The award is made to a graduate student or post-baccalaureate certificate students with a demonstrated interest in and commitment to improving the quality of life in American communities.

Support the John J. Accordino Fund

Karen Lynn Becker Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was established in 2016 through gifts from Mr. and Mrs. Frederick L. Becker in memory of their daughter and Wilder School alumna, Karen Lynn Becker (MURP ’94). The scholarship is awarded to students with demonstrated need in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning Program.

Support the Becker Memorial Scholarship

Leigh E. Grosenick Scholarship in Public Administration

Established in 2001 in memory of the school’s first director of public administration, this scholarship honors the legacy of Dr. Leigh E. Grosenick by supporting students. He founded the public administration program in 1975 and passed away in 1999.

Support the Grosenick Scholarship in Public Administration

Thomas C. and Cathleen C. Burke Scholarship

This scholarship was established in 2018 by Thomas C. Burke, Jr. (B.S. in Elementary Education ‘79, MPA ’95) and Cathleen C. Burke to support a graduate student in Public Administration. Mr. Burke is a U.S. Army veteran and has served VCU in leadership development roles for 40 years. Mrs. Burke has led VCU human resources for 10 years. Both are dedicated to the commitment of VCU and public administration.

Support the Burke Scholarship

Wilder Graduate Scholars Fellowship Program

The Wilder Graduate Scholar Fellowship program is nationally recognized and the cornerstone of the Wilder School graduate student experience. The program showcases the exemplary programming of the school’s student services units and the extraordinary student body of our nationally ranked school of public affairs.

Support the Wilder Graduate Scholars Fellowship Program

Niraj Verma Student Assistance Fund

The Niraj Verma Student Assistance Fund provides emergency funds to deserving students to aid them in completing their degree programs in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

Support the Verma Student Assistance Fund

Programs Support

Criminal Justice Program

Criminal justice students study the causes of crime, treatment of offenders and management of the criminal justice system, with a focus on balancing social justice and individual rights.

Support the Criminal Justice Program

Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Program

Launched as the nation’s first homeland security and emergency preparedness program in 2005, we prepare students to manage the complexities of disaster planning and response.

Support the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Program

Public Administration Program

The public administration program equips students with skills in public management and policy analysis. Our graduates pursue careers at nonprofits and federal, state and local governments, as well as for-profit organizations that cooperate with the public sector.

Support the Public Administration Program

Urban and Regional Studies and Planning Program

The urban and regional studies and planning program allows students to pursue community engagement, experiential learning and service learning. Each of our students partner with community organizations through paid internships or client-based studio work.

Support the Urban and Regional Studies and Planning Program

Centers and Other Areas to Support

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute promotes the development of current and emerging leaders in academic institutions; public, private and nonprofit organizations; and in the community. Leadership programs are based on the principles of collaboration and partnerships and the institute researches and disseminates knowledge on the best practices in leadership. 

Support the The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute

Morton B. Gulak Associate Professor Emeritus Fund

Dr. Gulak was a professor at VCU for over 40 years and passed away in 2012. In 2013, his family created a fund for an annual lecture in urban and regional planning to honor his legacy. The public lecture features a visiting expert in urban and regional planning. During the pandemic, funds have supported a student project in lieu of hosting a lecture.


The Office of Research and Outreach is a multidisciplinary policy studies organization. Its divisions provide a wide variety of services, including professional and leadership training, public policy outreach, survey design and implementation, economic research and education policy analysis.

Support the Office of Research and Outreach 

Phoebe P. Hall Endowed HIGHER Ground Leadership Fund

The Phoebe P. Hall Endowed HIGHER Ground Leadership Fund provides need-based scholarships for the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute HIGHER Ground Women’s Leadership Development Program and honoraria to engage high-profile speakers for the HIGHER Ground program and annual conference. The pledge was made in honor of Hall’s friendship with pioneering VCU administrator Grace E. Harris, Ph.D. (M.S.W.’60/SW), who died in February 2018.

Support the Hall Endowed HIGHER Ground Leadership Fund

Support the Gulak Associate Professor Emeritus Fund

Research Institute for Social Equity (RISE) Fund

The Research Institute for Social Equity (RISE) serves as a vehicle to advance racial equity and social justice through multidisciplinary scholarship, research, training and engagement. Its goal is to be the national leader in advancing social justice to inform public policy, governance and practice to improve conditions for marginalized voices within our society.

Support the Research Institute for Social Equity Fund

Wilder School RVA Eviction Lab Fund

The RVA Eviction Lab focuses on meeting eviction data and research needs and supporting the work of local government, community-based organizations, elected officials, and other advocates. The RVA Eviction Lab takes the necessary deeper dives into the qualitative and quantitative aspects of evictions, making data public, reliable, and responsive to community needs.

Support the RVA Eviction Lab Fund

Hailie Suarez-Rivas

“The impact of philanthropy for students like myself, who have paid for college on their own, overcoming obstacles, is really important. It really is impactful, just because it gives the sense that we matter for someone along our journeys.”

— Hailie Suarez-Rivas, B.S. Criminal Justice, '22