Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

Beyond Boundaries was leader among capital campaigns in April

    In April, Tufts outpaced the 26 other billion-dollar universities engaged in capital campaigns, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
    Tufts' campaign, Beyond Boundaries, experienced a $131.8-million vault in April.
    According to Director of Central Development Programs Chris Simoneau, this jump was due "almost entirely" to the late Frank Doble's (E '11) $136-million donation, which the university received in April.
    The campaign's monthly capital gains average between $5 million and $10 million. After April's surge, donations in recent months have remained strong and steady, Simoneau said. The campaign, which aims to earn $1.2 billion by 2011, surpassed $900 million this summer.
    "We're really hitting our stride," said Christine Sanni, director of advancement for communications and donor relations.
    Doble designated Tufts and Lesley University as primary beneficiaries of two trusts he set up as part of his estate plan before passing away in 1969. The trusts were dissolved upon the recent sale of his company, Doble Engineering, and their assets were distributed equally to the two universities. The gift is the largest in Tufts' history.
    Doble was a member of the Charles Tufts Society, an organization of alumni who include Tufts in their estate plans. The Society currently has close to 900 members, according to Sanni.
    Membership has increased, on average, by about 10 people per month since Beyond Boundaries went public in 2006, according to Rebecca Scott, director of Tufts' Gift Planning Office.
    Scott described the link between the Charles Tufts Society and the Beyond Boundaries campaign as a "chicken and egg" scenario. As contributions to the campaign increase, more members are added to the society. Likewise, as membership to the Society increases, additional campaign contributions are made.
    Since the campaign's inception, the Gift Planning Office has made an effort to increase publicity about the importance of donations to the university and has used Periscope, Tufts' faculty circulation, and Tufts Magazine to let people know more about the office.
    Scott said that administrators have also been more proactive in asking donors who have included Tufts in their estate plans or wills to inform the university.
    "We want to thank them properly and show them that it's a great way to contribute to the Beyond Boundaries campaign and the general success of the campaign," she said.
    Beyond Boundaries was publicly announced in November 2006, although a quiet phase of fundraising began in July 2002. The campaign's primary goal is to increase financial aid to undergraduates and establish a need-blind admissions policy.
    While Doble's gift makes the 2011 deadline easier to reach, Simoneau said that administrators had expected to receive some standout gifts during the campaign.
    "Campaigns are built with the expectation that there will be extraordinarily generous donors," Simoneau said. "Large gifts create a sense of momentum at the university and inspire others to look deeper."
    Sanni said that most universities do not see much alumni support, and she believes Tufts is within the range of reasonable alumni giving for most institutions.
    "We're in the middle of the pack," she said. But according to U.S.News & World Report's 2009 rankings of American universities, Tufts places 40th among national research universities with a 23 percent alumni-giving rate. This rank is considerably lower than Tufts' overall 28th ranking on the list of universities.
    Close to 92,000 donors have contributed to the campaign. Though a majority of them are alumni, many have come from corporations, foundations and individuals connected in some way to Tufts, Sanni said.
    "It's amazing to see people who have the means show how meaningful Tufts was to them," Sanni said. "I think we'll meet the goal. If we do better than the goal, we'll be ecstatic."
    Sarah Butrymowicz contributed reporting to this article.