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Profiles in Giving

Gary Caldwell & Janet Silva

About them

Gary Caldwell and his wife, Janet Silva, have spent a combined 59 years at Tufts. Gary has been coaching the Jumbos crew team for 19 years and 2008 marks Janet's 30th year at the university. The two live on campus in faculty housing; they got married under a big tent in front of the president's house. "I don't just work here—I live here!" says Caldwell. "Our Tufts family is a very real extension of our personal family." And when Caldwell lost a member of his personal family (his mother) and found himself executor of her estate, he thought of his Tufts family and made not one gift, but two.

About their gifts

Caldwell and Silva's first gift was in the amount of $60,000 to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in honor of Caldwell's mother. Their second gift of $20,000 came after they attended the Charles Tufts Society luncheon, an event that puts donors face to face with their beneficiaries and allows them to see the real impact of their gifts. "There wasn't a dry eye in the house; we had already been considering a second gift and after everything we saw and heard at the luncheon we new it was the right decision," says Caldwell. That gift is currently unrestricted, and Caldwell hasn't decided if they'll put it toward anything specific or let the university decide where it's needed most.

Why they give

"As middle-class working folks, we're not able to be as philanthropic as some other people are, so when you have a life-changing event that allows you the opportunity to give, I think you have to take it," says Caldwell. That opportunity, combined with Gary and Janet's wholehearted belief in President Bacow's vision for Tufts, made the decision to give that much easier.