Alumni giving

$25M challenge grant earmarked for financial aid

The university has received a $25 million challenge grant from alumni Pierre and Pam Omidyar. It is the second largest gift in Tufts history.

Tufts will invest the entire amount, once received, in endowment to expand the number of undergraduate scholarships offered to deserving students in need of financial aid.

“One of our primary goals is to become need blind in the admissions process,” Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow said. “I can think of no better way to foster an empowering environment than to provide access to talented students who otherwise would not be able to earn a Tufts education.”

The gift is structured as a challenge to encourage other donors to contribute toward the $200 million goal that Tufts has targeted to make the university a need-blind institution.

“This is yet another example of Pierre and Pam’s commitment to education for active citizenship and to Tufts,” Bacow said. “In 2000, they provided a $10 million gift to launch the University College of Citizenship and Public Service and then followed with an additional commitment of $8.2 million last year to further support the work of the University College through 2010. These funds have supported student scholarships, faculty development and a broad array of programs sponsored through the University College.”

Pierre and Pam Omidyar are the founders of the Omidyar Network, a mission-based investment group committed to fostering individual self-empowerment. The network funds for-profits, nonprofits and public policy efforts that promote level playing fields, collaboration and rich connections around shared interests to enable individuals to pursue what matters most to them. To date, the Omidyar Network has developed a diverse portfolio in areas such as microfinance, bottom-up media, open-source projects and transparency in government.

Both Pierre and Pam Omidyar contribute in significant ways to Tufts beyond their financial support. Pierre Omidyar, A88, the founder and chairman of eBay, is a trustee of the university, and Pam Omidyar, J89, serves on the advisory board of the University College.