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Tisch College seed funds spur inspiration to action

Open to undergraduate and graduate students from all of Tufts' schools, Tisch College's Civic Engagement Fund provides advising and seed funding for innovative projects with an active-citizenship theme. The fund is supported by seed money from Jonathan Tisch, A76, among other philanthropists, as well as by annual giving by alumni and friends. Students are eligible to apply for grants of up to $500 for an individual student or $1,000 for a group.

The aim is to attract students who are passionate and committed to unique projects that otherwise would not be possible. Here are a few recent recipients:

  • The Student Health Organizing Coalition (SHOC) has pressed Massachusetts officials to reform state health insurance regulations to ease cost burdens on students. With college students ineligible to get health coverage through the state Connector Authority's program of subsidized Commonwealth Care, private health insurance companies have been charging high premiums to students not covered by their parents, spouses, or employers. "A lot of students are being driven into medical debt, and a lot of people aren't able to get the care they need, so we're researching policy that could change to make the situation better for students," says SHOC organizer Dena Greenblum, A09. Members of the group testified at a public hearing in the state legislature on December 3.
  • Atur Patel, E11, a biomedical engineering major, helped organize LiveRight, an annual 5K run to raise awareness of Hepatitis B. "From my experience I learned leadership, organization, and management," he says. "But more importantly, I learned how the community can come together to achieve something that benefits everyone and how important it is for me to be a part of that."
  • Todd Walker, D10, organized weekly Portuguese language and culture classes for Tufts dental students to help improve care for the large Portuguese-speaking population. "The Civic Engagement Fund experience gave me an opportunity to take a public health need I saw in the community and help provide a solution," he says.

For more information on how you can make a difference with Tisch's Civic Engagement Fund, contact Mindy Nierenberg at Mindy.Nierenberg@tufts.edu or 617-627-4159