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Profiles in Giving

Friendly Arm-Twisting

When Jon Levy, E83, was growing up, he watched his father, the late Donald Levy, A49, raise money for causes, including the Cub Scouts, Little League, and Tufts. But one of the boldest requests he witnessed was when his dad asked a friend for $10,000 for the local library.

“I don’t even live in Westport,” the friend protested.

“You might someday,” Donald Levy countered. The friend agreed to give, and eventually even moved to the town.

The elder Levy’s example of philanthropy and friendly arm-twisting is one reason that Jon Levy is happy to volunteer for and contribute to Tufts. “I give because I can afford to and I should,” he says. “There is karma. If you’re generous, it comes back to you, whether in money or not.”

Levy, who lives in Needham, Massachusetts, also likes to work the phones in his role as thirtieth-reunion class gift officer because he enjoys catching up with classmates. And he offered a matching gift challenge to the Class of 2008 to increase the participation of young alumni in the Tufts Fund. Last summer, he boosted his own commitment with a gift of $100,000, which was matched dollar for dollar as part of the Tufts Financial Aid Initiative. The donation created the Jon A. Levy Endowed Scholarship, which will provide financial aid to undergraduates in engineering. “If you enjoyed your experience at Tufts, it makes sense to give back to the school so it can continue to grow and offer more to everyone,” he says.

An entrepreneur who started a construction company before attending Tufts, Levy launched another business, which sold the plastic strings that attach price tags, with his roommate during his senior year. He went on to Columbia Business School and is the founder and president of American Holt Corporation, a supplier of replacement parts for industrial machines.

Although he clearly enjoys business, Levy may enjoy philanthropy even more: “I look forward to the day when I can give it all away,” he says.