A Record Day of Fundraising

More than 4,000 donors give more than $1 million during Giving Tuesday at Tufts
students stop at Giving Tuesday table at Tisch Library
Kairavi Sarup, A20, makes a donation to Tufts in celebration of Giving Tuesday at a walk-in giving booth set up at Tisch Library on November 29. Photo: Anna Miller
December 7, 2016

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Tufts set a new record for a single day of fundraising on Giving Tuesday (Nov. 29), when 4,014 donors gave more than $1 million to the university.

“The power of the Tufts community was on full display,” said Bill O’Reilly, A77, A13P, vice chair of the Board of Trustees and annual giving chair. “Students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends who all care deeply about Tufts made a Jumbo effort to spread the message and support the university. We are grateful to every donor and volunteer who participated in the day’s overwhelming success.”

Tufts exceeded its initial goal of 2,000 donors by more than 100 percent. Giving Tuesday donations support all aspects of life at Tufts, including financial aid, faculty research and scholarship, student activities, and other university priorities.

This year was Tufts’ most robust Giving Tuesday challenge to date thanks to a group of donors from across the university: Jon Levy, E83; Kenneth Rosh, A85, A19P, and Merideth Schlesinger, A19P; Lori Samuels, J81, and Ted Samuels; Mariann Youniss, J83, and Andrew Youniss; Tony Mann, E84; members of the Friedman School Alumni Association Executive Council; Thomas R. Hedges III, M75, and Gail Hedges; and Fletcher School Dean James Stavridis, F83, F84. They pledged to contribute a total of $200,000 if 2,000 people gave to Tufts on Giving Tuesday.

This was the fourth time that Tufts has participated in Giving Tuesday, a global effort that was launched five years ago by a New York City cultural center to harness the power of social media and channel the holiday spirit of gift-giving toward philanthropy. It is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

In addition to the university-wide challenge, three schools issued sub-challenges. The Fletcher School set a goal of $33,000 for 133 donors; the School of Medicine $10,000 for 100 donors; and the Friedman School and Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging $10,000 for 75 donors. All three hit well beyond their marks—and the nutrition and medical schools doubled their target rates for participation.

“It was really moving to see how our alumni community came together for Giving Tuesday,” said Corey O’Hara, F08, N08, giving chair for the Friedman School Alumni Association’s executive council. “I think most alumni are glad to give; they just need a little reminder. Having a dedicated day, with a small army of energetic volunteers and challenge gifts, made it easy.”

The university hit its initial 2,000-gift goal around 4 p.m. on Nov. 29, triggering a bonus challenge of $20,000 for another 1,000 donors. Tufts supporters nailed that goal, too, and by midnight, more than 4,000 donors had made gifts.

The driving force of the day came from the scores of volunteers spreading the message through social media and personal emails, encouraging alumni, parents and friends to make a gift. It was the giving—and not the size of the gift—that mattered most. An interactive donor roll let people see, in real time, who had made gifts.

On Facebook, Emily Haggman, J80, posted that she made her gift in honor of her father, Jose Fagundo, who worked as a janitor at Tufts for more than 25 years. “Through a scholarship and financial aid, I received such a great education and went on to live my immigrant dad’s American dream,” she wrote.

While Giving Tuesday is mainly an online effort—leveraging the hashtag #GivingTuesday—the energy of the day was felt in person across all three Tufts campuses. Tufts’ annual giving staff and student fund volunteers manned booths at Tisch Library and the Mayer Campus Center to encourage student giving, while Fletcher students set up a table in the Hall of Flags.

In Boston, the dental school had a giving suite for faculty and staff to visit; the medical school had more than 20 alumni and parent volunteers working their networks; and Friedman School volunteers ran calling nights in Washington, D.C., and Boston. Cummings School staff and volunteers pitched in with a table at the Varis Campus Center on the Grafton campus.

“It was a privilege to participate,” said Rabbi Naomi Kalish, J92. “As a member of the 25th Reunion Committee, I’ve had such joy in looking back at my days at Tufts and pride in seeing how Tufts continues to lead in areas of the arts, engineering, law and diplomacy, and health care. Promoting diversity and interdisciplinary study seems more important now than ever before.”

If you missed Giving Tuesday, you can still make your gift to Tufts today.

Contact Divya Amladi at divya.amladi@tufts.edu.