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New technologies are helping donors to think big

A new venture is allowing annual fund donors to target their gifts to support people and programs that are especially meaningful to them, such as student research or scholarships.

Known as microphilanthropy, the model being introduced at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy allows a donor to track a project’s progress online as it approaches its funding goal. By directly linking donors to a cause that inspires them, this Internet crowd-funding platform, which launched in March, helps people connect with the impact of their gift.

The initial priority areas seeking funding by June 30 include financial aid for students in the Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA) program at the Feinstein International Center and in the combined master’s in nutrition and dietetic internship at Tufts Medical Center and the Friedman School. Donors will also be able to give to the student research innovation fund at the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, a summer internship fund for a student from Dillard University, financial aid for people from backgrounds that are underrepresented at the Friedman School, the graduating class gift, and a student project.

Each Friedman School microphilanthropy project will have a champion, or angel investor, who will donate half of the funding target and lead outreach efforts. One of the first angel investors is Cristiana Falcone Sorrell, N01, F01, who gave $25,000 to MAHA financial aid. The senior advisor to the chair of the World Economic Forum and a member of the Friedman School Board of Advisors, she is one of many graduates who have benefited from MAHA’s mission to help professionals learn how to respond effectively to humanitarian emergencies.

“I was awarded a scholarship myself, so now that I can afford it, it is my turn to enable young practitioners to succeed,” she says. “I am proud to be able to help lead the initiative and empower the next generation of international humanitarian aid professionals.”

To learn more about making a microphilanthropic gift, go to