More than 600 charities and nonprofits, largely in Boston and Cambridge, will receive grants this year thanks to the voluntary donations of thousands of Harvard faculty, staff, and retirees.
For the second year in its nearly 60-year history, affiliates donated more than $1 million ($1,018,894.96) during the 2002-03 Community Gifts Through Harvard Campaign.
“In today’s economy, local and state caregiving organizations are especially vulnerable, as are the people they serve,” said Alan J. Stone, vice president for government, community and public affairs. “Harvard faculty, staff, and alumni have recognized this need and through their donations will help support thousands of those most in need in our communities. I thank my colleagues and friends for their generosity.”
Harvard is the largest university donor to the United Way of Massachusetts Bay. While United Way was the greatest beneficiary of gifts from Harvard again this year, with $477,396 going in support of a variety of organizations and causes, other smaller organizations received sizable donations. More than 124 other local organizations, such as The Home for Little Wanderers, Hustle for a Cause, and Loaves and Fishes, received donations above $1,000. Rosie’s Place of Boston, a shelter that provides food, clothing, education, and health care for more than 6,000 women each year, was the second-highest recipient of Harvard gifts, receiving a donation of $26,291. For an organization that relies heavily on individual contributions, the gift will help flesh out their funding this year.
“The Harvard community is an incredibly generous one to Rosie’s Place, and we are deeply appreciative,” said Rosie’s Place Executive Director Sue Marsh. “Their financial support enables us to carry out our mission as a sanctuary for poor and homeless women.”
The widespread impact of Harvard donations is directly linked to the varied interests of Harvard employees. According to Mary Ann Jarvis, associate director of community relations at Harvard, who has administered the program for more than 15 years, Harvard is unique because it enables employees to donate to the charity of their choice. By picking up the administrative costs, Harvard donates 100 percent of gifts received to the organizations.
“Harvard has a totally open campaign,” said Jarvis. “We see the same donors every year and the same organizations chosen for support. Without the commitment of each and every one of you, including the retirees and emeriti who continue to support organizations each year, this kind of success would not be possible. This is truly a Harvard community effort.”
In addition to charities that provide specific services such as Victory Programs, offering Bostonians drug and alcohol treatment, Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts, Partners in Health, the Federation for Children with Special Needs, and Habitat for Humanity, a number of umbrella organizations received funding to provide wide-ranging services. Gifts went in support of Community Works, an agency that supports more than 30 Boston-area organizations, and Combined Jewish Philanthropies, which supports more than 80 agencies locally and around the globe. Harvard’s own Phillips Brooks House, which administers more than 70 local programs coordinated and staffed by Harvard students, also received support this year.
The impact is more than just economic. “Today we feel a profound and renewed respect for the power of community,” wrote Gail A. Burton, campaign coordinator for Community Works, in a note of thanks. “With your support, Community Works members will continue their work to strengthen community and build dignity, equality, and opportunity for all in the greater Boston area.”