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Beyond Boundaries is close to attaining $1.2 billion goal

Published: Friday, December 10, 2010

Updated: Sunday, December 12, 2010 18:12

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The university’s Beyond Boundaries capital campaign is 95 percent complete.

Tufts' Beyond Boundaries capital campaign is 95 percent complete with its goal to raise $1.2 billion by next year, according to Director of Advancement Communications and Donor Relations Christine Sanni (LA '89).

Launched in November 2006, Beyond Boundaries has raised $1.14 billion to date, drawing over 360,000 gifts from 130,884 individuals, which constitutes about half of all alumni, Sanni said.

The campaign has raised $586 million for the endowment, $371 million for faculty support and $415 million for student-related uses such as financial aid, prize funds and program funds, Sanni said. Some of the funds are double-counted toward different uses, she said.

Sanni credited the Beyond Boundaries campaign with helping support 258 endowed scholarships and 354 term scholarships so far.

The campaign, Director of Central Development Programs Chris Simoneau said, is part of an effort to attract the best possible students and faculty to the university.

"That was the framework for launching the campaign — what would it take for Tufts to recruit, retain and attract the best students and the best faculty?" he said.

Though the campaign is on track to hit its goal by next year, alumni giving has slowed in the past two years in light of the economic downturn, according to Simoneau.

"They haven't stopped giving, but perhaps they've given less," he said. "That's a trend that's facing all organizations that rely on philanthropic support, and Tufts is no exception there."

The campaign emerged from an academic planning process between Provost and Senior Vice President Jamshed Bharucha and University President Lawrence Bacow shortly after Bacow's arrival at Tufts in 2001, Sanni said. It began with a quiet phase in 2002 and officially launched in 2006.

"They engaged all of the schools and all of the deans in looking at the schools and figuring out what the schools needed to do to grow," Sanni said.

Beyond Boundaries was not Tufts' only fundraising entity to see donations slow. Tufts' annual fund — distinct from Beyond Boundaries but a contributor to the campaign — declined by 6.8 percent last year, the first decline in ten years, the Boston Business Journal reported on Tuesday.

In a recent interview with the Daily, Bacow said giving has not suffered as much at Tufts as it has at other universities. He said philanthropic support for higher education across the country decreased by 11 percent last year.

"It went down last year, [but] not as much as it went down at most institutions," Bacow said, referring to giving at Tufts.

Though the amount of overall donations has decreased, the number of total donors has increased, Sanni said. The annual fund has already raised more money this year than it had at this point last year, she said.

Simoneau said that while the downturn affected donor mindsets, the stabilizing economic climate is ushering in greater donations.

"We are turning a corner," he said. "People are feeling a bit more stable than they have in the past, but their circumstances are definitely changed."

Sanni praised alumni involvement in the campaign.

"We have a tremendously loyal alumni population," she said. "They're supportive of Tufts in many different ways."

Tufts Alumni Association President Barbara Clarke (J '88) similarly saw Tufts alumni as unique in their willingness to donate after leaving the Hill.

"Around the country, there are not a lot of schools where you have an alumni body that is so supportive of the administration," Clark said.

Clark said that the Alumni Council played a large role in the fundraising. In October 2006, the council pledged a gift of $20 million to the campaign. Since then, they have raised a total of $37 million, she said.

Fifty percent of alumni who received an undergraduate degree from Tufts have donated, according to Simoneau. But he said these donors represent only one side of alumni involvement in the university.

"The number of people who are actually involved is much higher than 50 percent, whether they participate in the alumni admissions program or alumni activities throughout the world," he said.

Clark said that alumni are inspired to give by their positive experiences at Tufts.

"For me personally, what inspired my giving is just the simple fact that Tufts had a very transformative effect on my life," she said. "I think that people feel that the education they got is valuable, that the connections they made are valuable," she said.

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