A Big Boost on Giving Tuesday

More than 1,700 members of the university community donated to Tufts, boosted by a $112,000 challenge from donors

The tweet from a 2014 grad said it all: “I donated $5 to @TuftsUniversity. It’s not much, but if everyone does it, that’s a lot of Lincolns.” Mitch Mosk, A14, posted that on Dec. 1, a global day of philanthropy known as Giving Tuesday.

At Tufts, all those Lincolns did add up. In a single day, more than 1,700 members of the Tufts community made donations.

Their support was motivated by a challenge from a group of donors who pledged to contribute $112,000 if more than 1,012 people made a gift to Tufts on Giving Tuesday. “Tufts gave me lifelong friends, an education and a great head start,” says Jon Levy, E83, one of the challenge donors. “Inspiring, encouraging and cajoling my classmates to give back to Tufts has become a calling for me. If you want to make your life better, make someone else’s life better.”

Most gifts were less than $50, and the Tufts campaign raised more than $400,000, including the larger challenge funds. Some chose to give to specific areas of the university, but a majority of the gifts were to support financial aid, athletics and areas of highest priority, says Sean Devendorf, senior director of annual giving.

From recent graduates to parents, athletics coaches and university trustees, all sectors of the university embraced the challenge. Through social media and personal emails, alumni encouraged their friends to step up. An interactive donor roll carried real-time results of those who had given.

“Our goal was to reinforce that gifts of every size really do help support today’s students,” says Julia Motl Lowe, J98, G07, director of annual giving initiatives. “The day’s success was thanks to our volunteers, who were excited to spread the word across their social networks.”

The Tufts Alumni Council “worked with volunteers across reunion committees and affinity groups to help rally alumni to support of #GivingTuesday,” says Kate Kaplan, G95, president of the Tufts Alumni Association. “A Jumbo thank you to everyone involved!”

Now in its fourth year, #GivingTuesday was created by the 92nd Street Y in New York City to harness the power of social media to promote giving during a season when many consider making charitable donations. It is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.

This is the third year that Tufts has participated in Giving Tuesday, with each successive year growing in terms of alumni volunteers and number of people participating. In addition to Levy, the challenge donors were Kenneth Rosh, A85, A19P, and Merideth Schlesinger, A19P; Monte Haymon, E59, J83P, J85P, and Jane Haymon, J60, J83P, J85P; Howard Hartenbaum, A16P, and Junko Hartenbaum, A16P; and a donor who chose to remain anonymous.

Monte Haymon says he is pleased that his challenge gift seeded further giving: “We give back to help others less fortunate to achieve a quality education, realize the Tufts experience and position themselves for a fulfilling life.”

Divya Amladi can be reached at divya.amladi@tufts.edu.

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