Senior Anna Rodriguez shares her experience as a student whose life was transformed by coming to Tufts from Roxbury with the aid of the BLAST program and a strong financial aid package, at the official launch event for Tufts University's capital fundraising campaign "Brighter World" on Nov. 4. (Courtesy Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

Tufts announces new Brighter World fundraising campaign

Tufts officially announced the public phase of Brighter World: The Campaign for Tufts, which is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the school’s history, according to a press release published today. Through Brighter World, Tufts is seeking to raise $1.5 billion.

The campaign marked the beginning of its public phase with a celebration on Saturday night at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and was emceed by alumna and campaign co-chair Meredith Vieira (J ’75). Senior Vice President for University Advancement Eric Johnson said the event brought together nearly 400 alumni, students, faculty and friends of the university.

More than $566 million has already been raised during the quiet phase. These funds have been used to build interdisciplinary spaces and programs such as the Science and Engineering Complex (SEC), the Data Intensive Studies Center (DISC) and the Allen Discovery Center, according to Jonathan Schwartz, executive director of campaign management. Schwartz said the campaign started July 1, 2013 and will last until June 30, 2023. 

According to the press release, the campaign is aimed at supporting three core areas, based on the university’s 10-year strategic plan: transformational experiences, local and global impact, and research and innovation.

University President Anthony Monaco said the campaign gives Tufts an opportunity to raise greater awareness of the positive impact of the university.

“The campaign will help advance the university’s standing as a leading student-centered research university that improves lives and the world around us,” Monaco told the Daily in an email. “The funds we raise will support important initiatives such as financial aid, academic and extracurricular programs, and research and innovation, to name a few.”

As campaign co-chair, University Professor Emeritus Sol Gittleman is particularly interested in endowed chairs and funds for financial aid.

“From my point of view, the most important thing is to support students and faculty: recruit, reward and retain,” Gittleman said. “By the end of the campaign, I’d like to see hundreds more endowed chairs and to be as close to need blind in admissions as possible.”

Schwartz stressed that the campaign and university advancement efforts are driven by financial aid.

“Financial aid is among the campaign’s very highest priorities,” Schwartz told the Daily in an email. “We have raised nearly $150 million already for financial aid (inspired in large part by President Monaco’s Financial Aid Initiative) and aim to raise more to help current and future students.”

Another important goal for the campaign is to foster an enduring culture of giving and volunteerism, according to Ed Ellison, executive director of alumni relations.

“The 250 members of the Tufts Alumni Council, the governing body of the Tufts University Alumni Association, have shown remarkable leadership and generosity by pledging $30 million to the campaign and 100% annual participation among its membership,” Ellison told the Daily in an email.

Johnson said that donations are already on track.

“Although our goal of $1.5 billion is ambitious, I’m very optimistic that we will be successful,” Johnson told the Daily in an email. “I’m extremely impressed by the support we have already had, both in terms of the commitments that donors have made and the passion of our alumni volunteers.”

Schwartz noted that Tufts is unique among universities in launching such a large fundraising campaign.

“We have seen extraordinary generosity in recent years, and we are among a relatively small group of private universities who have already achieved campaigns of $1 billion or more,” Schwartz said. “But there is potential for creating an even greater sense of collective pride and responsibility in giving back. In recent years, we have seen increases in donor participation and we want to continue to engage with alumni, parents and friends in creative ways to nurture this to new levels.”

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