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MIT Campaign for a Better World propels the Institute to best fundraising year on record

The impact of the campaign is evident in new initiatives and core support across campus.
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 The fundraising effort is the best in the history of MIT and brings the Campaign for a Better World total to $4.3 billion.
The fundraising effort is the best in the history of MIT and brings the Campaign for a Better World total to $4.3 billion.
Photo: M. Scott Brauer

MIT has announced that the MIT Campaign for a Better World has mobilized record numbers of alumni and friends in support of the Institute’s work on society’s most pervasive global challenges. At the end of fiscal year 2018, MIT had raised $737 million in new gifts and pledges from the highest number of donors in a single year.

This result — the best in the history of MIT — brings the campaign total to $4.3 billion, contributed by more than 96,000 individuals and organizations. From driving the launch of new global research initiatives to providing robust resources for students and reinvigorating physical spaces, the campaign is fulfilling its mission across MIT’s campus and beyond.

“It’s been an incredible year for the Institute,” says Julie Lucas, MIT’s vice president for resource development. “This outcome reflects both the generosity of the MIT community and the outstanding work of our faculty, researchers, and students who are creating a more positive future for all. It’s an extraordinary collective commitment to making a lasting impact on the world. I am proud to work among MIT’s talented advancement professionals, and I am deeply grateful to all of our alumni, friends, and leadership volunteers and ambassadors who have responded to the campaign with energy and vision to help us achieve our aspirations.”

The Institute-wide campaign, publicly launched in 2016, is driven by five problem-solving and discovery priorities that intersect with MIT’s schools, departments, labs, and centers: Discovery Science; Health of the Planet; Human Health, Teaching, Learning, and Living; and Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In addition, the campaign is highly focused on raising funds to support and sustain the people and places at the Institute’s core. 

The impact of the campaign can be seen in the widespread transformation taking place across MIT’s campus

Support for capital initiatives reached a new high this past fiscal year and milestones were attained on a number of projects, including the Harold W. Pierce Boathouse; the Metropolitan Warehouse (the potential future home of the School of Architecture and Planning, as well as a new makerspace for the MIT community); and the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel, all of which have moved into their design phase.

Initial gifts were also secured for the new Vassar Street undergraduate residence at the heart of campus and the new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub. The latter is a cornerstone of the Kendall Square Initiative, which is rapidly transforming this Cambridge innovation neighborhood into a new gateway to the Institute. Kendall Square, also home to a new MIT graduate student residence and a purpose-built MIT Museum, continues to be among the Institute’s highest priorities. 

Adjacent to Kendall Square, MIT.nano, a 214,000-square-footaddition to the campus landscape, opened on Oct. 4. Its advanced nanotechnology and nanofabrication facilities are poised to have a dramatic impact on researchers across the Institute.

Two cross-Institute efforts announced this past year highlight the campaign’s commitment to basic research, human health, and innovation. The Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health (J-Clinic) aims to create and commercialize high-precision, affordable, and scalable machine learning technologies to revolutionize disease prevention, detection, and treatment worldwide. The MIT Quest for Intelligence, of which J-Clinic is a part, will focus on advancing the science and engineering of human and machine intelligence. 

Meanwhile, donors contributing crucial unrestricted funds to the campaign are fueling MIT’s ability to augment core strengths and invest in daring ideas. Support for undergraduate and graduate financial aid and faculty in the campaign also remains strong, underscoring the MIT community’s dedication to the student and teaching talent that drives the Institute’s education, research, and innovation engines. 

Since the campaign launch, MIT has sought to engage alumni and friends even more deeply in the life of the Institute. A total of 6,178 individuals from Boston to Seattle to Hong Kong to Tel Aviv have experienced the MIT Better World event series in 14 locations across the globe. The tour visited six major regional hubs where MIT alumni live and work during the 2018 fiscal year 2018, attracting 2,715 attendees. 

The 2018 Tech Reunions — MIT’s largest annual gathering of alumni — drew 3,578 alumni and guests, with three classes breaking attendance records and six breaking giving records. Meanwhile, the second MIT 24-Hour Challenge, held on Pi Day (March 14), inspired 8,673 donors to give more than $3.4 million, including a Pi-themed $314,000 challenge gift and a $50,000 bonus gift. The Institute also saw more than 16,000 volunteers offering their services to MIT. 

MIT President L. Rafael Reif says what he has found most striking about the campaign's success “is the enthusiasm for MIT I have witnessed everywhere I have traveled.”

“Our alumni and friends believe deeply in the critical role our community plays in creating and advancing knowledge, in service to the nation and the world. The campaign has strengthened MIT as a magnet for the most talented people on the planet and positioned our brilliant faculty and students to do their best work,” says Reif. “Thanks to the generosity of thousands, and to the time, energy, and dedication of thousands more, MIT’s vision for a better world is a giant step closer to reality.”

For more information about the MIT Campaign for a Better World, visit and follow #MITBetterWorld. 

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