A Grateful Community Comes Together for Tufts Giving Tuesday

Alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends will celebrate the university’s tenth annual day of philanthropy 

Tufts Giving Tuesday

Vikki Garth, J81, president of the Tufts University Alumni Association, calls herself a big believer in Tufts Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is the best time of year to give,” said Garth during a recent visit to Tufts from her home in London. “You can give to whatever cause you want, and because of the matching challenges, your gifts could be worth more. It’s an easy and fun way to amplify your impact and to show your support for all the things that matter to you.”

Garth will be among the thousands of alumni, parents, and friends sharing their enthusiasm for Tufts during Giving Tuesday on November 29, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

This year marks the tenth consecutive year of Tufts Giving Tuesday, which by now has achieved a strong track record of inspiring an outpouring of support from a grateful and global Tufts community.  

The Giving Tuesday goal is to surpass 7,000 donors by the time it wraps up at midnight. In 2021, contributions totaled more than $4 million.

Opportunities to show support include 80 matching challenges set up to increase the impact of gifts to the university. And for the first time, donors will be able to create and post challenges of their own during the day, to support projects of their choice, such as a club sport, an identity- based resource center, or a research initiative. And donors will be able to give via Venmo, Paypal, Apply Pay, and Google Pay, making it as easy as possible to support the campus causes they care about.  

Using the social media hashtag #TuftsGivingTuesday, thousands of volunteers are prepared to rally the Tufts community. Their mantra: Do what you can. Each and every gift makes a difference.

For Garth, Giving Tuesday celebrates giving back, a capacity she believes is especially embraced at Tufts.

“To me, the spirit of Giving Tuesday is aligned with how Tufts people, especially its graduates, see the world,” she said. “I went to Tufts when Jean Mayer was president, and his message to us was: You are citizens of the world, and you have been given a lot. You've much to be grateful for, and you have got to give back. That ethos has been part of the Tufts culture forever, and it’s why I think Giving Tuesday resonates with the Tufts community.”

Giving Tuesday benefits every aspect of student life, including financial aid, internships, and resources for libraries and laboratories.

Ayomide Oloyede, A25, is a first-generation college student from Columbus, Georgia. “My path here has been aided and pushed by people who have the kindness to share in this great day of giving,” he said. “I hope people will appreciate that anything that can be given, and to whatever cause, can have a butterfly effect.”

Oloyede is a double major in international relations and civic studies with a minor in French.  He was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation intern in Washington, D.C. last summer, partly because of a strong recommendation from a Tufts professor. An award-winning actor, he also was invited to join a reading with the Black theater company Front Porch Collective, co-founded by Maurice Parent, Professor of the Practice, in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. And he enjoys working closely with the FIRST Center, which advocates for students who are first-generation, low income, or have undocumented status.

“I’ve found a home at the FIRST Center,” said Oloyede, who is a FIRST Community Senator committed to bolstering the resources FIRST Center students depend on. “I’m always trying to be sure that I help get resources to the places where they are needed.”

Giving Tuesday affirms his faith that people care about Tufts students, he said.

“It’s through the generosity of others that I’m able to be at Tufts and to enjoy the freedom to explore so many opportunities,” he said. “The chance to join my classmates in the full range of college activities is priceless.” 

Lori Feldman, J91, V95, is among the many well-prepared volunteers who will rally support for Giving Tuesday through conversations, emails, and social media. A veterinarian and member of the University Annual Giving Leadership Council, she said Giving Tuesday is about thanking those who have helped her and supporting future generations.

“We are all responsible—or should be—for helping others and giving of ourselves,” she said. “In Hebrew it is called tzedakah. Jews are taught at very early ages to give to charity, both monetarily as well as of themselves. What matters most on Giving Tuesday is not how much you donate, but that you participate. Every gift adds up.”

Feldman has set up a challenge to raise funds for financial aid for Cummings students.

“Challenges are so important; they raise community spirit—and maybe some healthy competition,” she said. “They bring us together to help students who will someday day help larger society in so many ways.

“We are always going to need the great minds, spirit, and compassion of Tufts veterinarians,” she said, noting that pet ownership has soared during the pandemic, rapidly raising the need for veterinarians. “Giving to financial aid is an investment that directly benefits our students now, but it also goes much further, to strengthen the veterinary profession as a whole.”

Heather R. Boxerman, J92, M96, A21P, A24P, A24P, M25P, also looks forward to doing her part for Giving Tuesday as a volunteer and donor.

Her outreach comes naturally, given her extensive Tufts family tree: She earned both an undergraduate degree and a medical degree at Tufts, she is a Jumbo parent three times over, and her oldest child is following in her footsteps at the medical school.

 A member of the Tufts Medical Alumni Association Executive Council, Boxerman also sees Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to reconnect with the Medical School’s Class of 1996 and with current parents. Her message braids personal gratitude with support for future students.

“I have had the privilege and good fortune to call myself a Double Jumbo,” she said. “Tufts has given to me not only an excellent education, but a sense of curiosity and awareness that has shaped the person that I am. I am especially honored to give to the scholarship fund at the Medical School. I wish to provide others with the unique and rewarding opportunities that have been bestowed upon me.”

Over the years, Giving Tuesday has also inspired incredible generosity and friendly competition from the athletics community.

John Morris, director of athletics, said Giving Tuesday is “always one of the most energizing days of the year for Tufts Athletics. It’s fun to see and feel the incredible passion and support that our alumni, parents, friends, and teams bring to the day.

“Every gift to Tufts Athletics impacts our student-athletes far beyond their success in competition,” he added. “Our talented student-athletes work so hard every day striving for excellence and competing for championships, and they bring the same drive, discipline, and energy to their classes, civic engagement, and extracurricular activities. 

“We are so grateful for the generous support we receive on Giving Tuesday, and we hope that our Tufts alumni, families, and friends will show their continued support again this year for our student-athletes, teams, and coaches, and all that they aim to achieve.”

Garth said that support—and its steady growth over the past decade—speaks to the university’s overarching values.

This year, she hopes donors will celebrate the tenth anniversary by reflecting on how profoundly Tufts changes, and will continue to change, lives.

“Tufts gives our students the skills of leadership. It focuses on all aspects of human development; it shapes a view of the world,” she said. “Through Giving Tuesday, we can give those opportunities to current students, and to future students, so they grow into the kind of leaders the world needs. If each of us can give what we can, together we can make the world a better place.”

Track Giving Tuesday’s hour-by-hour progress online, or follow Tufts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn for regular updates.

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