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Profiles in Giving

Small Wins

Promoting active citizenship from the ground up

When she was 15, Ify Mora, A04, came face to face with intense poverty. As a volunteer at an orphanage in Venezuela, she met children who were physically undernourished and also begging for more attention, more education than the volunteers could provide—a harsh, daily truth for many nonprofits that don’t always have the resources to meet the full needs of the cause. Still, every day brought a small win—like when the children picked up new words in the English class she taught.

“My time in Venezuela really solidified my interest in economics,” Mora says, “because at the end of the day, balanced economic policies create the most opportunities for these kids and their families.”

Her passion for globally engaged social work led Mora to Tufts, where she studied quantitative economics and Spanish. Her education would not have been possible without financial aid, and Mora appreciates the opportunity she was given. “Tufts is a place that cares about active citizenship, about civically minded individuals making a positive impact in our world,” she says. “And you need people from all walks of life and backgrounds engaged in that level of work to make a difference.”

As a scholar in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Mora organized Children’s Awareness Week, a series of events on topics including child obesity, the media’s impact on children, and the experiences of children growing up in the Middle East. After graduation, she worked at Tisch College as a program coordinator, helping new Tisch Scholars enjoy the same transformative experience she had as an undergraduate.

Today, she is the director of operations at the Barr Foundation, a Boston-based foundation that supports initiatives related to education, the arts, and climate change. “I am charged with ensuring that the foundation runs smoothly on a daily basis,” she explains. In her spare time, she serves on the boards of Welcoming America, English for New Bostonians, and Tisch College, continuing her strong ties to Tufts.

Mora remembers fellow Tisch Scholars whom she mentored and who also greatly benefited from financial aid. “They’re big thinkers who know how to work well with others of diverse cultural, class, and identity backgrounds—and they continue to make a really positive contribution on a global scale,” she says. “I can’t imagine Tufts without people like that who bring so much to our community and who can be the types of ambassadors that we want to see in the world.”