New MIT Fundraising Drive Has Already Raised $277 Million

In its second year of operations, the Campaign for Students has already raised $277 million to support student scholarships, research, and student-oriented services. The campaign aims to raise $500 million by MIT’s 150th anniversary in 2011.

Most of the funding acquired so far can be attributed to the first phase of the campaign — called the “silent phase” — where funds were raised by contacting individual donors without a full-blown marketing campaign. Since 2006, the silent phase has generated over half of the $500 million goal with help from major MIT benefactors.

Just last Friday, the campaign announced its second “public” phase and marketing strategy, known as “The Human Factor,” with a day-long campus event featuring MIT student accomplishments and research. Unlike the silent phase, in which the Campaign concentrated solely on large donors, the next phase will accept funds at the public level. Friday’s event was targeted towards a larger audience, and allowed anyone to attend the student presentations and dinner reception.

What makes this program different from other funding projects is that the money raised is strictly intended for MIT students rather than supporting faculty research. Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD ’75, leader of the Campaign For Students, explained that the money raised is allocated into four different student resources: undergraduate commons, financial aid, student life, and graduate support.

Of the $500 million goal, $200 million would be invested in scholarship support, $100 million in graduate fellowships, $100 million in educational improvement, and $100 million in student services.

With the money being raised, MIT will be able to continue to offer student services including financial aid, UROP funding, student facilities, travel abroad, and student group funding. Chancellor Clay noted that tuition alone cannot fund all of the services that MIT offers, and that donors are critical to many MIT activities. During the State of the Institute address, President Susan J. Hockfield said tuition does not cover even half the cost of providing a student with an MIT education.

Chancellor Clay explained that the campaign’s launch event allowed people to exchange fundraising ideas, discuss issues, and determine strategies that will help the campaign accomplish its goal of raising $500 million. While some benefactors donate a lump sum, Chancellor Clay acknowledged that many contributors will continue to donate money to the campaign at scheduled times.

In addition to the Friday event, the Campaign launched its website: The site spotlights nine MIT students whose talents, accomplishments, and hobbies represent the diverse environment at MIT. Finale P. Doshi G, for example, is a student pursuing her PhD in electrical engineering and computer science. Finale participates in over ten activities, including the MIT Kokikai Aikido Club. In her video, she discusses her work with robots as well as her passion for math.

The Campaign for Students started in 2007 under President Hockfield, Chancellor Clay, the Office of the Vice President for Resource Development, and several other MIT faculty members.