CHRIS GRIVAS/THE HOYA CREATING TRADITIONS Party-For-A-Cause infuses campus social life with Georgetown students’ penchant for community service.
CREATING TRADITIONS Party-For-A-Cause infuses campus social life with Georgetown students’ penchant for community service.

Georgetown students live by the phrase “work hard, play hard,” and in 2008 Georgetown students found a way to transform a fun night out into something philanthropic. Party-For-A-Cause, a nonprofit organization, aims to empower and encourage college students to participate in and create events that raise money and awareness for a charitable cause. For Liz Kane (MSB ’14) and Joey Byrne (MSB ’13), involvement in Party-For-A-Cause runs in the family, and it is through their continued involvement that this community-focused organization keeps growing while throwing a great party at the same time.

What does the PFC do and how are you involved in the organization?

JB: The PFC team works behind the scenes to orchestrate a carefree and memorable event for the attendees. Once the board identifies the cause, we tackle the logistical and administrative aspects of planning the party. These include but are not limited to corresponding with charity, publicizing the event and managing all fundraising transactions. I am currently the president of the Party-For-A-Cause Board; I oversee almost all of the operations while also trying to recruit underclassmen to keep the organization moving forward.

LK: Past events include a homecoming formal, a winter ball, a tennis tournament, senior prom and many smaller open-bar events.  I am currently vice president of the organization and focus mostly on the logistics of planning each event, such as interacting with venues [and] caterers and organizing ticket sales. I joined the board my freshman year when my sister Grace Kane [COL ’11] was a senior on the board.

How long has PFC been at Georgetown?

JB: Molly Breen [MSB ’11] founded PFC at Georgetown in 2008. It was inspired after recognizing that there are nearly 20 million college students in the United States today who spend a significant amount of time and money hanging out with friends and going out to parties.

LK: PFC aims to redirect a portion of this money to charitable causes. College students, with a lack of “real-world” financial responsibilities, are an ideal untapped market for charities to reach.

What differentiates PFC from other philanthropic groups on campus?

LK: We find that the best way to get college students involved in helping out charities is to center it on social life. When students are typically going to be going out anyways, we provide an easy way to contribute toward a good cause. We’ve seen that as our events become more popular throughout the university, a greater number of people attend, and thus more money is raised for charity.

What groups do you typically donate to?

JB: We aim to help charities that make a direct impact on students of Georgetown or the D.C. area. Most of the charities that we have worked with have actually been started by Georgetown students or are close to the hearts of Georgetown students.

LK: This year our charity for the homecoming formal is Elizabeth’s Hope, a charity centered on the life of Elizabeth Minter, who lost her battle with brain cancer in May 2012 and was great friends with many students here at Georgetown. The charity was created to help find cures for inoperable brain tumors that affect young people so that we may never again lose a friend, a roommate or a classmate.

How have you seen the organization grow since the beginning of your involvement?

JB: For me, the most important growth I’ve seen is a large increase in the number of charities who have come to us personally in order to help them throw successful events. It’s been so great to see how the PFC name has been instrumental in throwing such fun and successful events for these charities.

LK: Since joining in the fall of 2012, I have seen this organization grow into a staple of Georgetown social life. For example, the first homecoming formal that I was involved in planning aimed for 350 attendees. Last year’s homecoming formal sold out in three days at 400 people and had a waitlist of at least 30 people.

You still have time left at Georgetown before you graduate to help PFC develop. What are your goals for the board’s leadership and the organization as a whole?

JB: I just hope that the people I’ve been working with can continue on the path we’ve established this fall, and that Party-For-A-Cause becomes an even larger part of the social life here at Georgetown.

LK: Over the next two years, my goals for the organization center on training the younger kids on the board on how to approach planning events of all types and sizes. We always aim to host new types of events and help out new charities, so it’s crucial we continue to spread the word about what PFC is and what we do.

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