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President backs Community Giving campaign

To members of the faculty and staff:

As you walk through campus or the hallways of Lincoln Lab, on most days you probably notice fund-raising efforts on behalf of community service organizations. I certainly do. Immediately following the devastating hurricanes this fall, MIT faculty and students responded with a remarkable outpouring of fund-raising activities, food and clothing drives, educational activities, and emergency and long-term volunteer efforts. Earlier this month, different groups on campus sponsored activities to raise awareness and money for AIDS research and assistance. These are just two examples of the many ways in which the MIT community demonstrates its great generosity and compassion.

The Community Giving at MIT Campaign offers an important opportunity for all of us to help our local community service agencies address poverty, illness, homelessness and other critical issues. I am writing to ask you to consider supporting this Institute-wide fund-raising effort. Our goal this year is to raise $400,000 through broad faculty and staff participation. MIT's charitable giving campaign is unusually comprehensive, offering the options of giving to the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the MIT Community Service Fund or any local health or human services agency.

Dean Robert Redwine, who chairs the campaign steering committee, tells me that colleagues often ask committee members and department representatives to explain the benefits of taking part in this campaign. First, the practical: Donors may choose to donate through payroll deductions, a one-step process that makes it possible to spread out contributions over a longer period of time. Second, since most people have a personal association with or feel very connected to a particular cause, the campaign allows contributors to select from countless organizations. Donors may give to any local health or human services 501(c)(3) agency, including MIT organizations such as the Public Service Center. Contributors also may choose the MIT Community Service Fund, which supports Cambridge community service organizations in which MIT students, faculty and staff are involved as volunteers.

As an institution, MIT seeks to make a difference in the world. Participation in the Community Giving at MIT Campaign is one way we can fulfill that mission -- by reaching out to individuals and families in our communities. I hope you will join me in supporting this year's campaign. You may donate online at or request a pledge packet by e-mailing or calling x3-7914.

Susan Hockfield

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 21, 2005 (download PDF).

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