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Brighter World Campaign Surpasses All Goals

$1.5 billion fundraising endeavor greatly enhances resources and global impact   

More than 132,000 donors came together to raise $1.53 billion for Brighter World: The Campaign for Tufts, making it the most successful fundraising endeavor in Tufts history.

The comprehensive campaign, which concluded on schedule on June 30, inspired unprecedented generosity and reflects a confidence in the “timeless values and distinctive strengths of Tufts,” said Peter R. Dolan, A78, A08P, chairman of the Tufts Board of Trustees.

Brighter World catalyzed the talent, energy, and innovative culture that defines the Tufts University community,” he said. “As a call to action, it struck a chord that will resonate for generations of students and faculty. I am deeply grateful for everyone who contributed—every gift mattered. We are, now more than ever, a community that has profoundly shaped the future of the university and expanded its impact on the wider world.”

Brighter World fundraising spanned a decade, with critical momentum provided by gifts during the campaign’s initial leadership phase; the wider Tufts community joined the endeavor after a public launch in November 2017.

The campaign dramatically improved Tufts’ ability to advance three overarching priorities—transformative experiences – including financial aid, student housing, athletic facilities, and new academic spaces--research and innovation; and global impact.

A $10 million gift to support the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life from Trustee Emeritus Jonathan Tisch, A76, H20, and Lizzie Tisch, announced at a campaign celebration in New York in April, propelled the campaign past its $1.5 billion goal.

From a university-wide perspective, Dolan said that gifts in support of Brighter World buttressed the hallmarks of a Tufts education, including civic engagement and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Brighter World is ultimately about discovering and unlocking the power of meaningful philanthropy,” he said. “It reflects a shared optimism and confidence in Tufts as a university that is preparing leaders for a rapidly changing world as it also acknowledges our ever-expanding capacity for innovation and discovery. We can now do a better job of leveraging Tufts’ distinctive strengths to meet even the most complex challenges of our time.”

Brighter World has also fostered a culture of philanthropy, with donors inspired to contribute gifts of all sizes. All schools at Tufts exceeded their shared goal of collectively achieving a campaign total of $207 million in annual fund contributions.

Tufts welcomed more than 1,105 new members to the Charles Tufts Society (those who include Tufts in gift planning), eclipsing its goal of 1,000 new members. Planned gifts account for nearly 20 percent of the campaign achievement.

Dolan credits much of the campaign success to a global community of volunteers conveying Brighter World opportunities to others, inviting participation and building excitement. Confidence in the university and its future, he said, also reflects the “gifted leadership” of Anthony P. Monaco, president throughout the course of the campaign, and now university professor and president emeritus, and “a tireless champion of Tufts’ values and vision.”

Also key, said Dolan, were efforts by the campaign co-chairs: Trustee Emeritus Jonathan Tisch, A76, H20; Trustee Neal Shapiro, A80, A23P, A26P; Alice and Nathan Gantcher University Professor Emeritus Sol Gittleman, A85P, H10; Meredith Vieira, J75, H08; and Trustee Jason Epstein, A96, and Chloe Epstein, J96.

“There was a tremendous partnership among our co-chairs, our volunteers, Tufts leadership and academic deans, and Caroline Genco, provost and senior vice president and Arthur E. Spiller Professor,” said Dolan. “They all deserve a Jumbo thanks for being outstanding Tufts ambassadors.”


Building Campuses for the Future

Thanks to Brighter World, Tufts has been strengthened in myriad ways—spanning financial aid to professorships. Its impact is most immediately visible where philanthropic support made possible capital improvements; collectively, those gifts added 908,623 total square footage of new and renovated spaces.   

Taking a central role in strengthening Tufts facilities were the university’s long-standing supporters Trustee Emeritus Bill Cummings, A58, H06, J97P, M97P, and Joyce Cummings, H17, 97P, M07P, through their Cummings Foundation. Their generosity and vision made possible Joyce Cummings Center, which opened in January 2022 on the Medford-Somerville campus. The multidisciplinary academic center has been heralded as a stunning gateway to Tufts, given its proximity to the new public transit Green Line extension.

The building, which transforms an underused lot into an imaginative and lively hub, brings together mathematics, computer science, and economics, as well as related programs, including the Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, created with a $10 million gift from Jan and Jack Derby. Cummings Foundation also continued to provide critical support for Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, making it Tufts’ most impactful benefactor during the campaign.

Donors also invigorated academic enterprise and student life on the Medford-Somerville campus with the renovation of a former factory into the Collaborative Learning and Innovation Complex, the construction of the Science and Engineering Complex, and the creation of a new on-campus residential neighborhood, Community Housing—CoHo for short.

Jumbo pride and loyalty also contributed to transformative giving for athletics. Donor-funded progress can be seen in the Daniel Ounjian Field, a renovation of the football field; a new state-of-the-art eight-court squash center; and a new baseball stadium that honors Sol Gittleman, an authority on America’s favorite pastime.

On the Grafton campus, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine celebrated the renovation of the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals and opened the doors to the new Joseph Kelley, D.V.M. Simulation Laboratory, among other enhancements that strengthen the veterinary school’s teaching, research, and clinical capacity.

On the Health Sciences campus in Boston, the School of Medicine marked the opening of the Michael J. Anatomy Lab. At the School of Dental Medicine, alumni support made possible a complete revamp at One Kneeland Street that expanded ground-floor facilities to include the Lemchen Family Reception Area, a new patient-services suite, and offices for the patient-relations team.

Support for Teaching and Research

Teaching and research, one of the largest focus areas of support, generated $682 million in giving. The support, burnishing Tufts’ reputation for powerful research, coincided with the university being selected to join the prestigious Association of American Universities, a consortium of America’s leading research universities noted for their accomplishments in education, research, and innovation.

Philanthropy spanned investments in entrepreneurs driving social impact and technology innovations; funding for research on disease therapies and eliminating malnutrition and hunger; and resources for centers focused on developing practical solutions to climate change, cybersecurity, and international diplomacy, among other pressing issues of our time.

Examples of Tufts’ leadership in groundbreaking research reinforced during Brighter World include the creation of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts. Michael Levin, A92, A26P, Vannevar Bush Professor of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, and his team are conducting trailblazing work on regenerative medicine.

The power of philanthropy as a force for good is also reflected in the Brighter World focus on attracting and retaining top faculty. A concerted effort, including matching gift opportunities offered by the Professorship Partnership Challenge, garnered 74 new professorships and named positions.

Brighter World donors stepped up with remarkable generosity to honor and support Tufts’ faculty,” said Dolan. “Their gifts amplify Tufts’ excellence in teaching, scholarship, and research, and help us attract the next generation of talent.”

Unlocking Opportunities for Students

One campaign priority that particularly resonated with donors was the university’s enduring commitment to widening access to a Tufts education through financial aid. Brighter World inspired an unprecedented $356 million for university-wide financial aid; gifts include the creation of 700-plus new scholarships and the expansion of more than 400 existing scholarship funds. 

The campaign’s landmark Financial Aid Initiative raised $95 million for endowed scholarships while the Challenge for Arts, Sciences, and Engineering created 40 new scholarships and contributed to 29 existing ones. The COVID-19 Financial Aid Challenge rallied giving as well, raising nearly $5 million to assist students and families hit hard by the pandemic. 

The Schuler Access Initiative, launched during the campaign, continues the financial aid momentum. To date it has raised more than $19 million toward a $25 million goal. Jack Schuler, E62, E91P, and Tanya Schuler Sharman, E91, started the matching gift effort to strengthen support for underrepresented students, and Steve Tisch, A71, accelerated its progress with a $10 million gift.  

The first initiative of Women Impact Tufts brought its own momentum to financial aid, with more than 170 donors with university-wide affiliations contributing more than $26 million, well exceeding its goals of securing $15 million from 130 donors, in recognition of the 130th anniversary of the university admitting women.

Giving Bolsters Strengths, Initiatives

Brighter World also leveraged and advanced Tufts’ inherent cross-disciplinary strengths. One example is the Neubauer Family Program in Economics and Public Policy, a joint Ph.D. program that bridges the Department of Economics at the School of Arts and Sciences and The Fletcher School.

Tufts launched the program in 2017 with a $3.75 million gift from the Neubauer Family Foundation, funding that trains students to address critical issues centered around economic development, the environment, and energy. Through Brighter World, the program was endowed and will now support aspiring global changemakers in perpetuity.

Other initiatives that capitalize on the collaborative Tufts culture include the Tufts Institute for Research on Learning and Instruction, made possible by the James S. McDonnell Family Foundation, and the Stibel Dennett Consortium for Brain and Cognitive Science, made possible through the generosity of Jeff Stibel, A95.

Gifts also advanced the university’s mission to support initiatives that further its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. A gift from Trustee Elizabeth Cochary Gross, N82, NG88, and her husband, Phill Gross, for instance, created a professorship at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy to enrich the curriculum with expertise and insights on nutrition equity, food and nutrition security, food justice, and health disparities.

At the School of Medicine, Sam W. Ho, M76, endowed the Sam W. Ho Health Justice Scholars program, which is training physician-leaders and scholars with the vision and ability to transform health care in medically underserved communities.

Dolan said the full impact of Brighter World contributions will be felt for generations to come, thanks to $544 million being added to the university’s endowment, assets that will benefit students, researchers, and faculty at Tufts in perpetuity.

On that note, he said, the full impact of Brighter World is in many ways still to come, as each gift will continue to shape the individual lives of students and faculty.

“We have, through this campaign, opened doors to the vastness of human potential to learn, to grow, and to serve the greater good,” he said. “What we have been able to achieve together is truly extraordinary.”

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