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Smith Fund empowers presidential support for strategic initiatives

A $10-million gift from Susan and Richard Smith, J82P, will give Tufts' president new opportunities to invest in top university priorities.

"I am deeply grateful for this extraordinary vote of confidence in the university's direction and future," President Lawrence S. Bacow said of the establishment of the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Presidential Initiatives Fund.

"This gift is so valuable because it gives us flexibility to invest in areas of greatest need, as well as in creative opportunities yet to emerge," Bacow said. "It is a remarkable example of philanthropy."

Under the terms of the gift, the fund is to be used, at the president's discretion, to support strategic initiatives that advance Tufts' academic mission. A matching provision requires any expenditure to be matched, dollar for dollar, with an equivalent amount from university resources or raised from other donors, creating a "multiplier effect" that will strengthen the impact of the Smith Fund.

"The Smiths have been very generous in offering a great deal of flexibility in how to use their gift," Bacow said. "Unrestricted resources are critical in allowing Tufts to make strategic investments in its academic priorities."

The Smiths, whose ties to Tufts span three generations, are prominent philanthropists in Greater Boston. They are longtime benefactors of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and their family foundation in Chestnut Hill annually awards millions of dollars in grants to support healthcare, education, anti-poverty initiatives, and cultural enrichment. Daughter Debra Smith Knez, J82, a Tufts trustee; Brian Knez; and son and daughter-in-law Robert and Dana Weiss Smith, J88, carry on the family tradition of philanthropy and are themselves generous supporters of Tufts.