MIT Sloan MBA/LGO Class of 2014 aims for record class gift participation

Contributions support unrestricted funding including fellowships, student experience, and faculty research

March 13, 2014

Class Gift Co-Chairs John Ghirardelli, Maja Omanovic, and Dina Amin

Class Gift Co-Chairs John Ghirardelli, Maja Omanovic, and Dina Amin

The MIT Sloan MBA/LGO Class of 2014 kicked off its campaign for the annual class gift March 10 with Professor Roberto Rigobon, MIT PhD ’97, encouraging students to participate.

Rigobon, speaking to a packed room of students and faculty at MIT Media Lab, challenged the Class of 2014 to move beyond mere “involvement” to “commitment” to a better future for MIT Sloan. The world has “too many habitants, but not enough citizens,” Rigobon said. “If you want to tell the future, the best way is to go about building it. Habitants live in the world, citizens build it.”

MBA and Leaders for Global Operations students can contribute through the class gift website. Class gift contributions support the MIT Sloan Annual Fund, which provides unrestricted dollars that allow administrators flexibility to spend where funds are needed, whether for fellowships, academic programs, student life, or faculty research. Students may choose to designate contributions for fellowships, for programs that support the student experience, or to the unrestricted fund.

The 24-person class gift committee set a participation goal of a record 90 percent. The current record for participation is 89 percent, set by the Class of 2011. All gifts received by June 30—the end of the fiscal year—will count towards the participation goal, although the committee hopes to reach its goal by May 15.

According to committee co-chair John Ghirardelli, MBA ’14, Rigobon’s remarks echoed the committee’s ultimate goal: engaging the Class of 2014 in the future of MIT Sloan far beyond their graduation year.

“Our mentality is all about building that habit of giving back. It’s our school and it’s on us to build and sustain this place for future generations,” Ghirardelli said. “MIT Sloan bet on you as an individual, they spent time and resources on you. It’s part of the social responsibility of the individual to recognize the important role this place has played in your life and to help it play that type of role for generations to come.”

Tuition covers only about 63 percent of the cost of a student’s education. Other sources of funding, including philanthropy, cover the remainder. The committee has set the minimum contribution level at $50. Ghirardelli said that amount has a significant ripple effect, as a strong participation rate sends a tangible and compelling message to alumni and other donors about the positive experience and commitment of the students they support.

“When I say ‘giving back,’ it’s because I recognize that 40 percent of the cost of my experience at MIT was made possible by someone else’s giving before me,” said Maja Omanovic, MBA ’14, a class gift co-chair. “When I started at MIT Sloan, I had a 10-month-old son at home, and didn’t have time to give back. Now he’s bigger, and I have time, and I wanted to do something impactful. I’m so thankful for the experience I’ve had.”

At the kickoff event, John C Head III Dean David Schmittlein cited a number of reasons to give. First, he said, the MIT experience was made possible by those who came before, and by contributing one continues that experience for future students. Second, MIT makes a distinct and profound difference in the world through its graduates, and the donor community helps to make that difference.

“But that’s not the real reason to give,” said Schmittlein. “The real reason is it will change you, like so many before. It will make you think differently about how you engage with MIT far into the future, how you make the MIT network stronger. Once a person gives, knowing they’ve become a part of continuing the work of MIT, its students, and faculty, it becomes one of the most joyful acts of their lives.”