Making Tufts “a Stronger Place to Learn, Teach, and Grow”
There’s one day of the year that never fails to raise Ken Rosh and Merideth Schlesinger’s spirits: Giving Tuesday.
“Merideth and I made a multiyear commitment to be #TuftsGivingTuesday challenge donors because we love what it represents—a day that truly celebrates the power a Tufts education has on people and the world,” said Rosh, A85, A19P, A21P, a member of the School of Arts and Sciences Board of Advisors who has supported Giving Tuesday along with Schlesinger, A19P, A21P, since the beginning. “It allows us to show our pride in a school I loved as a student and where Merideth and I have watched our two kids flourish.”
This global day of philanthropy is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which this year falls on December 3. Established to counter the consumerism of the holiday shopping season, the fundraising event has gained momentum at Tufts since the university began participating seven years ago. #TuftsGivingTuesday is now a popular tradition that celebrates Tufts pride and engages students, parents, alumni, friends, faculty, and staff around the world and across generations.
Organizers hope to exceed last year’s Giving Tuesday success: a record-breaking 8,700 gifts totaling some $2.5 million, with incentives energized by more than 40 challenge gifts. Rosh, for his part, is optimistic. “#TuftsGivingTuesday shows us that as part of this Jumbo community, we can all help make Tufts a stronger place to learn, teach, and grow,” he said.
Mary DeMello, D86, Dental Campaign Committee Annual Fund co-chair, agreed.
“I loved my time at TUSDM! Volunteering enables me to share that joy by asking others to join me in giving back to the school,” she said. “#TuftsGivingTuesday has become a meaningful and lively tradition that not only celebrates the learning and innovation happening at TUSDM, but also allows the entire community—alumni, students, faculty, and staff—to work together to support the dental school.”
Leading up to Giving Tuesday, Tufts works with hundreds of volunteers who rally support through conversations, emails, and social media. These volunteers include current students such as Harry Kong, A20, an economics major pursuing finance and philosophy minors, who coordinated with student groups to set up a Giving Tuesday student challenge last year through Tufts Student Giving.
“Giving Tuesday is my favorite time of the academic year, because I get to see the Tufts community come together to contribute to something larger than themselves,” Kong said. “It’s a very festive day where you get to witness generosity being harnessed as well as new friendships and connections formed. It’s empowering and fun to be a part of a changing force that brings about positive changes to the greater Tufts community, no matter where your passion lies.”
“Volunteering for Giving Tuesday is an easy way to give back and a good reminder to reach out to my Tufts network,” said five-year volunteer Meagan Edmonds, A14, a member of Young Friends of Tufts Advancement and the Tufts Alumni Council. It’s an easy opportunity for a first-time gift, she added. Of last year’s contributions, some 2,100 were from first-time givers.
Edmonds reaches out to fellow Jumbos on social media, by email, and by text, explaining how Giving Tuesday’s challenges make everyone’s gifts go farther—no matter what their size.
“I think Giving Tuesday is a particularly exciting day because my gift has a much bigger impact,” she said. “Tufts opens the doors of learning, community, mentorship, and friendship, and we can turn our gratitude for Tufts into more of those experiences for future Jumbos.”
Molly Haragan, F18, felt the same. “It’s a great time to show the established love, connection, and belief in Fletcher that students and alumni have,” said Haragan, a class secretary who enjoys staffing the campaign table in the Hall of Flags on Giving Tuesday. “I absolutely love Fletcher—from the people I’ve met, to what I’ve been able to leave with. All of that has been available to me because others before me have invested their time, energy, and money into the school. It is my duty to do the same.”
Fletcher pride is likewise a big motivation for Daiki “Taji” Tajima, F18, co-chair of his class gift committee, who also tabled at the Hall of Flags last Giving Tuesday and is always looking to boost the signal for the campaign.
“Giving Tuesday is not only a reminder of the generosity of the Fletcher community—it’s also simply great fun. The enthusiasm and collaborative spirit I’ve experienced has been very exciting,” he said. “This day brings everyone together to enjoy the warmth of an atmosphere where students, alumni, faculty, and staff are all willing to contribute.”
Last year, athletics was the biggest driver of Giving Tuesday donations. “It’s become a single day where our team members, alumni, parents, and friends all come together to become one giant team,” said Adam Hoyt, head coach of men’s and women’s swimming and diving. The impact is not just financial, he said: “Our current athletes experience the passion our alumni have, and we come away with so much gratitude for all those individuals who came before, who still help impact our program, department, and university in a positive way.”
John Casey, A80, coach of the men’s baseball team, added that Giving Tuesday brings out a friendly competitiveness among teams as they strive to outperform each other. “The theme of the day for us is to show support, whether it is $10 or $100,” he said. “It’s all about showing Jumbo pride.”
On Giving Tuesday, it’s easy to follow the progress of the campaign at givingdays.tufts.edu via the live gift count, donor wall, and individual school pages on the website, as well as email blasts and social media posts.
“The day is a lot of fun—we really enjoy watching the progress online as everyone comes together to make a difference,” Rosh said. “We look forward to continuing this amazing Tufts giving tradition on December 3.”
Join the Herd!
Check out the social media toolkit, learn more about the 60+ giving challenges, and explore all the causes you can support at givingdays.tufts.edu.
Post on social media, #TuftsGivingTuesday #GivingTuesday, and tag fellow Jumbos!
Monica Jimenez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.