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The number of Tufts alumni who have demonstrated resourcefulness around social issues far exceeds the capacity of this limited space. But we hope that the following “registry” gives a sense of the tremendous vitality and creativity that Tufts alumni bring to just about any challenge. As active citizens, they take the oft-heard phrase “making a difference” and make it real.
Rev. Angelo D’Agostino, SJ, M49, founded Nyumbani Children’s Home in Kenya in 1992 for HIV-infected abandoned children. The orphanage now provides a home for 94 children and supports a community program for 2,000 children. A village for 1,000 orphans plus 300 grandparents has been dedicated.
Two Medical School graduates have had a hand in helping Massachusetts’ Cape Cod residents, many of them seasonal workers who lack health insurance. Dr. William McDermott, A53, M58, founded the Cape Cod Free Clinic eight years ago and eventually recruited Dr. Bernard Maney, A49, M53, to lend a hand. Maney, a “retired” primary care physician, serves on the clinic board and is a member of several committees. He also volunteers his services at the clinic, now with three locations serving nearly 500 people a month.
Dr. John Meade, A54, D56, regularly brings supplies and a helping hand to the sole dentist in rural Fond des Blancs, Haiti, as a dental volunteer for the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation. The former associate clinical professor at the Dental School has long been involved in Catholic mission work in Haiti; closer to home, in Lawrence, Mass., he co-founded the Lazarus House Dental Clinic for the Homeless.
Benjamin Sands Jr., E54, and Judith Lundegren Sands, J57, transformed a Jumbo women’s swimming and diving practice trip into an airlift of supplies by leveraging the airlines’ two-bag luggage allowance. Six other college swim teams joined the effort, bringing 5,000 pounds of humanitarian aid to the Dominican Republic.
Alan McDougall, A65, initiated a handicap transportation project at the Deerfield Valley Farmers Day Fair in Vermont by mobilizing volunteer drivers from the local Rotary Club. His efforts made the Vermont fair handicap accessible for the first time in its 130 years.
Dr. Antonia Brody Neubauer, J65, founded the READ Nepal Program, which empowers communities by increasing literacy and access to education through the creation, advancement, and leveraging of a replicable library-based model for sustainable economic development.
Dr. Vartan Ghugasian, A67, D72, DG74, has traveled repeatedly to his ancestral Armenia since a devastating 1988 earthquake to establish free dental clinics for children under the auspices of an Armenian-American charitable foundation, the Howard Karagheusian Commemorative Corp. The first clinic was dedicated in 1993; today, six serve more than 300,000 children, many of them orphaned or disabled.
Stephanie Wong Fan, J67, a 2005 recipient of Tufts’ Distinguished Service Award, founded the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center and the Massachusetts Chinese Education Committee. She has also taken active roles in the Chinese Historical Center, Asian Community Development Corporation, and Chinatown Healthy Boston Coalition.
Rev. Gloria White-Hammond, M76, co-pastor of Bethel AME Church in Boston and a pediatrician at the South End Community Health Center, founded the church-based creative writing/mentoring ministry for high-risk girls that now serves more than 550 young women. She has also worked as a medical missionary in several African countries and in 2002 founded My Sister’s Keeper, a humanitarian group that supports women of Sudan.
Steven Koltai, A76, F78, a former movie studio executive, chairs the board of the Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles, an umbrella organization dealing with adult literacy. Koltai notes that English literacy is “the greatest correlate to crime, drugs, homelessness, and poverty,” with Los Angeles at the epicenter of this spreading crisis.
Robin Allinson Smalley, J77, is international director of the Mothers Programmes in South Africa, which trains new mothers with HIV/AIDS to counsel and educate HIV-positive pregnant women. Smalley, who recently relocated to Los Angeles, expanded this local initiative into a global organization with a budget of $2.5 million.
Julie Russem, J78, a healthcare program planner, teamed with Dr. Stephen Blattner in 1983 to found the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, a comprehensive childhood cancer treatment center that administers love and hope along with medicine. After more than a decade as director, Russem, who is single, stepped down to devote herself to raising her two daughters adopted from Guatemala and to work as a healthcare consultant and administrator.
Derek Brooks, A85, brings technology to under served community organizations in Boston’s inner city through Inside Cable Community Technology Initiatives, a division of the company he founded. Inside Cable CTI is currently developing Tech for Tots, a program designed to bring technology and training to children in the inner city.
Lynn Bratley, M86, founded the Improbable Players touring theater company in 1984, based in Watertown, Massachusetts. This unique group of professional actors, all recovering alcoholics and addicts, are pioneers in the use of drama in substance abuse prevention. Since 1995, their performances and workshops have reached more than 600,000 young people.
Vanessa Kirsch, J87, is president and founder of New Profit Inc., a national nonprofit venture philanthropy fund that provides multi-year financial and strategic support to organizations focused on a range of issues including childhood literacy, college access, and civic engagement. New Profit, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, seeks to create an environment in which all social entrepreneurs have the resources necessary to nurture their innovations and achieve transformative social change. As quoted in Forbes, Kirsch has said, “There are a thousand points of light, but so few beacons.”
Mary Skipper, J89, G96, is founding director and headmistress of TechBoston Academy, a pilot high school in inner-city Dorchester, Massachusetts, that emphasizes smaller class sizes and a longer school day, and raises private funds to provide each pupil with a laptop computer. Only 25 percent of the original class of incoming ninth graders passed the math portion of the MCAS exam in eighth grade; by the end of 10th grade, the MCAS pass rate for the same class had increased to 95 percent.
Leverett Wing, A90, co-founded the Massachusetts Younger Asian American Caucus to attract more Asian Americans to public service. Members speak at college conferences, organize voter registration drives, and conduct information seminars for community groups.
Jane Leu, J91, is the founding director of Upwardly Global, a San Francisco–based nonprofit organization that increases the economic integration of immigrants into the mainstream professional workforce by linking Fortune 1000 companies with refugees and immigrants who have university degrees and professional experience.
Jerry Beck, A92, is founder and artistic director of the Revolving Museum of Lowell, Massachusetts, an “evolving laboratory” of public art, exhibitions, and educational programs that support the creative expression of people from all backgrounds, ages, and abilities. Through exhibitions and educational arts workshops, visitors are immersed in an interdisciplinary approach to exploration, creative problem solving, and cooperative learning. The museum is recognized as one of the most visionary and influential community-driven art museums in New England.
Jeffrey Golden, A92, is co-founder and president of Common Fire Foundation, which extends and sustains a culture of social and environmental responsibility. Its first initiative: a co-op in New York’s Hudson Valley to house a diverse community of people who align their lifestyles with their ideals. The house is expected to be the only building in the Northeast to earn the Green Building Council’s top rating for environmentally responsible construction.
Lori Tsuruda, G95, founded the Boston nonprofit People Making a Difference (PMD) while a graduate student at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. PMD promotes successful volunteerism by helping companies and charities elevate how they approach volunteerism, facilitating high-quality volunteer involvement as well as workshops, a corporate partnerships program, technical assistance, and consultation services. To date she has directly helped with 238 of PMD’s more than 530 service projects assisting 104 charities in greater Boston.
Adam Levner, A96, and Heather Rieman, J96, in 2005 launched Critical Exposure, a Washington, DC–based nonprofit organization that uses documentary photography to increase awareness of the need for public school reform. Students in under funded districts receive cameras and training to document conditions in their schools, then use their photos to advocate for adequate and equitable resources.
Matthew Dong, BSOT 00, an occupational therapist at Waverley Place, a McLean Hospital community program in Belmont, Massachusetts, launched Waverley Card Productions to encourage program members to use their creativity and develop business and interpersonal skills. Members produce and sell more than 500 greeting cards annually.
Stephen Goodman, F00, founded PowderHouse Partners, a strategy consultancy based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, advising for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The firm was lead collaborator on a Museum of Science/Hitachi program offering local high school students hands-on experience with wireless grid applications developed through an NSF project in wireless technology.
When Karina Weinstein, A02, went to Chile her junior year, she never dreamed her life would be changed by the schoolchildren she met in the shantytown of Penalolen, Santiago. But Weinstein would return to Chile and create the Esperanza Cultural Center, now serving hundreds of children and run in cooperation with a local nonprofit agency. Recently, she and a fellow volunteer bolstered this effort with the Esperanza Scholarship Fund, which helps exceptional students attend private school.
Alexander “Sasha” Chanoff, F04, launched the Somerville-based Mapendo International (www.mapendo.org) in 2004 to rescue and protect people fleeing conflict and violence in Africa who have fallen through the net of humanitarian aid. The organization’s medical and rescue initiatives reach out to thousands of people whose struggle to survive would otherwise go unnoticed.