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Letter to the community regarding major gift to MIT

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The following email was sent today to the MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif.

To the members of the MIT community,

Sometimes, the most precious gift you can receive is the confidence of someone you value.

Raising money to support the work of MIT — your work, and our work together — is among my central responsibilities. So today, a year into the public phase of the MIT Campaign for a Better World, I would like to offer a few observations from that pursuit.

This year, thousands of miles of travel gave me the opportunity to connect with some of MIT’s most enthusiastic alumni and most devoted friends, a gift in itself. Such connections and reconnections have helped build a tide of support — to date, contributions from 87,000 individuals and organizations, totaling $3.4 billion — for the mission, and for the Campaign vision of building a better world.

Many of those gifts are directed to areas faculty and leadership have called out for support, such as undergraduate financial aid, or MIT.nano, or the needs of specific departments. And we are grateful for every one!

Donors at every scale sometimes choose a different path, however, and mark their gifts as “unrestricted.” In fact, today MIT received a remarkable gift in that category: a commitment of $140 million in unrestricted support, from an alumnus who prefers to go unnamed.

Everyone who contributes “unrestricted” dollars gives MIT flexibility and nimbleness — the ability to seize unexpected opportunities, to solve crucial but unglamorous issues around buildings and grounds, to respond to emergencies, to provide the fundamental support that allows us to attract many of the most creative people in the world.

And these supporters give us one thing more: the great gift of their confidence — confidence in the mission, power and people of MIT to do good for the nation and the world.  

As we strive to live up to that trust, a great part of my own confidence in our ability to rise to the challenge springs from the energy, optimism, creativity and kindness of our students. On Friday, it will be a deep privilege to share with the world more than 2,800 living examples of MIT’s mission in action.


L. Rafael Reif

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