In Brief

Tufts' Redoubled Effort to Help

The university's Community Appeal, which runs through December, is a way for faculty and staff to contribute to many worthy charities
December 14, 2015

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Bea Rogers was ecstatic when she learned about the results of last year’s Tufts Community Appeal. The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy had the university’s highest percentage of participants. “I was delighted—we beat everybody,” says Rogers, a professor of economics and food policy at the school. “It’s all in a good spirit, of course, but it was fun to win—even if it was by less than a percentage point.”

To encourage participation, she walked around the Friedman School wearing a little blue elephant pin emblazoned with a red heart, which everyone who donates to the appeal receives. People would ask Rogers where she got it, and she would spread the word. “I think we realize we’re all in this together—that our collective effort can really help,” she says.

The annual appeal, which supports numerous charities and nonprofit organizations, runs through the end of December. Donations can be to the Tufts Neighborhood Service Fund, which supports nonprofits in Tufts’ host communities; Tufts Financial Aid; one of the coalition charity organizations the Tufts Community Appeal supports, such as United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley; or a nonprofit of your choice.

Last year nearly 300 faculty and staff participated and pledged more than $150,000 in donations. This year, on behalf of the Office of Community Relations, President Anthony P. Monaco has announced a goal of increased participation: He has asked at least 350 faculty and staff to step up and give. That’s a message that Rogers and eight other faculty and staff co-chairs are working hard to amplify, to rally even wider support.

Rogers says she enjoys giving to a range of charities through the appeal. In addition to the Friedman School’s annual fund, she assists Career Collaborative, a Boston-based organization that supports career development for the low-income unemployed; Heifer International; My Brother’s Table in the city of Lynn, neighbor to her hometown of Nahant; Calcutta Kids, a comprehensive health intervention program; and, new this year, the Himalayan Cataract Project, a charity that funds cataract surgeries in developing countries.

Philanthropically, she believes she has done what she can to support causes that inspire her with their pragmatic, grassroots endeavors. But she’s also happy to help Tufts, where she has built a long and rewarding career. In 1982, she was one of the first faculty to join Tufts’ new nutrition school. Today she is a beloved teacher and an internationally respected expert on how food policies, such as food stamps and food aid, address food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition.

When Rogers was approached last year to become a Tufts Community Appeal co-chair, she didn’t hesitate. “I’d been giving through the appeal for many years, so I agreed,” she says. “When I make donations through the appeal I support an important mission of Tufts. We pride ourselves on citizenship and public service, and I like that about the university.”

Making a donation through the appeal, she adds, is a “win-win” for individuals and for Tufts as a whole. When faculty and staff support meaningful causes, they also help strengthen the university’s commitment to its host communities and to bettering society.

As for the redoubled focus on participation, Rogers is optimistic that the Friedman School will once again draw strong participation.

One aspect of the program that could propel more engagement across the university is heightening awareness about the option of giving to a charity—or several charities—of one’s own choice, something Rogers has found so deeply rewarding.

“I found that many people didn’t realize that they have choices they can support through the Tufts Community Appeal,” she says. “If people are thinking of giving at the end of the year anyway, if they have specific charities in mind, I encourage them to think about making those gifts through the appeal. It’s the giving that matters.”

Make your gift today. Contribute to Tufts Community Appeal by printing, completing and mailing this form [PDF].

Laura Ferguson can be reached at laura.ferguson@tufts.edu.

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