Record Numbers for Giving Tuesday

More than 7,500 donors pitched in and gave more than $2.2 million on November 28

aerial shot of Medford/Somerville campus

Tufts continued its tradition of record-setting fundraising on Giving Tuesday on November 28, when 7,528 donors gave more than $2.2 million—including challenge gifts—to the university during its annual Giving Tuesday initiative.

Tufts’ initial goal was 5,000 donors for its fifth year participating in Giving Tuesday, a global effort launched six years ago by a New York City cultural center to spur philanthropy on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Tufts hit that goal at 5 p.m., which unlocked the $500,000 in challenge money being offered by more than 20 donors across the university. Reaching the original goal set a bonus challenge in motion—another 1,000 donors would unlock an additional $100,000 in challenge gifts offered collectively by the university’s trustees. That second goal was reached shortly after 8 p.m. Funds will support financial aid, faculty research and scholarship, student activities, and other university priorities.

“The commitment and generosity of the Tufts community was palpable as the donor count tracker ticked up all day long,” said University Annual Giving Leadership Council Chair Bill O’Reilly, A77, A13P, a trustee emeritus. “This is a wonderful way to reinforce the importance of building a culture of philanthropy in the university’s comprehensive campaign, Brighter World. Truly, every gift is Jumbo.”

As part of the university-wide challenge, for the first time in Tufts’ Giving Tuesday history all the professional schools as well as the athletics department issued their own challenges, and all succeeded in exceeding last year’s number of donors. The Fletcher School came close to doubling its goal of 250 donors, totaling 468 gifts and unlocking $50,000 from challenge donor Lis Tarlow, F84, F97, chair of Fletcher’s Board of Advisors.

“Seeing the results of the Giving Tuesday campaign for Fletcher, I felt tremendous pride in the Fletcher community. I am delighted to be making my $50,000 annual fund gift in response to this record achievement,” Tarlow said. “There are so many reasons we may attribute to this success, but I think the biggest reason is the strength of the Fletcher community. This achievement is one of many reminders of how special and significant Fletcher is to us all.”

The athletics department also just about doubled its goal of 1,852 donors, with 3,685 gifts rolling in to unlock $25,000. “Thank you for a great education, and great experience as a Tufts U student-athlete,” wrote Ruth Sacks Marlin, J85, on Facebook after making a gift supporting women’s track and cross-country.

On email and social media, volunteers encouraged students, alumni, parents, and friends to make a gift, and an interactive website which tracked everything in real time kept visitors informed.  Nicolas Freda, D13, tweeted the quote by entrepreneur Jim Rohn, "Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have,” and urged people to donate to their favorite charitable organizations as well as Tufts.

“Donated to my alma mater. Go #jumbos #TuftsGivingTuesday,” tweeted Kimberly Dong, N02, a research assistant professor at the School of Medicine who received her doctorate in public health from Tufts earlier this year. She also posed for a photo in a tweet from Tufts Public Health, holding up a sign that read “#imadoublejumbo” and “scholarships” under the words “WhyIGive.”

All the campuses were buzzing in person, too, as volunteers—including nearly a dozen undergraduate students—staffed tables to encourage student giving. “The energy on the Medford campus where we were tabling for gifts was exciting—we had a great time encouraging other students to give, get involved, and help Tufts reach our goal for Giving Tuesday,” said John Peavy, A18. There were 1,407 gifts from current students—another record setting achievement.

Other activities happened at the individual schools, including a calling night at the Friedman School, tabling at the campus center at Cummings School, and an intense competition on the leaderboards between the athletic teams. The result was a day of giving that, as Tufts Alumni Council member Jen Bokoff, A08, enthused, “blew it out of the water!”

If you missed the action, you can see all the results at

Monica Jimenez can be reached at

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