MIT Campaign for a Better World reaches $2.9 billion

The MIT Campaign for a Better World has raised $2.9 billion of its $5 billion goal since the campaign officially launched May 6.

The campaign began its quiet phase in July 2011, and by May 2016, it had already raised $2.6 billion. The official campaign announcement was strategically timed to coincide with the eve of Moving Day – MIT’s 100-year celebration of the move across the Charles.

The priorities of this capital campaign remain funding scientific research, improving the health of the planet, improving human health, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, improving education, and attracting the best faculty and students to MIT, encompassing contributions to financial aid, student life, research support, and campus infrastructure.

A major portion of funds raised so far has come not from corporations or foundations, but rather from MIT alumni. In May, 46 percent of donations came from alumni; that number has now increased to 58 percent.

In response, the campaign adopted a strategy to reach MIT alums via “Campaign Roadshows,” in which MIT, with the help of the Alumni Association and a regional host committee, host galas in alumni-dense regions. New York City and San Francisco are the first cities on the list, with the New York event set for Oct 20. Alumni have shown a strong interest – these events are almost at capacity.

The exact breakdown of how money will be spent across the six priorities has not been set in stone. However, funds from the first years of the campaign have already contributed to the introduction of the Jameel Water and Food Security Lab, the establishment of the Center for Advanced Urbanism, and the plans for a creation of a large makerspace in the Met Warehouse. They have also gone to scholarships and fellowships.

The administration is excited about the progress thus far. “We touched a chord that resonates deeply not only on our campus, but with our alumni and friends everywhere,” President L. Rafael Reif said. “I look forward to hitting the road in the weeks and months ahead to catch up with alumni and friends and find new ways to work together to live up to our shared vision for MIT as a tremendous force for good.”

The fundraising campaign has no firm end date. “Our goal is $5 billion” said Julie Lucas, vice president for resource development. “We will make a decision about continuing the campaign past the goal when we reach that point.”