Gratitude without Limit

Lisa and Steve Lebovitz are finding new ways to continue their decades-long support of Tufts.
Lisa and Steve Lebovitz

Lisa Lebovitz, J84, has always been grateful to her alma mater. An economics major who played on the tennis team, met her best friend in preorientation, and was close with her professors, she credits Tufts with giving her a foundation for so much that she built upon after graduation. “It was a safe, great place to grow up, and it helped launch me onto the next part of my life,” said Lisa, who went on to apply her marketing skills in both the corporate and nonprofit worlds. She now owns a business called Cube Art Boston that increases the visibility of Boston-based artists.

In gratitude for her Tufts experience, Lisa and her husband, Steve, have given generously of their philanthropy and their talent. They started 20 years ago with gifts to the Tufts Annual Fund and Tufts Hillel. “We are strong believers in the value of a liberal arts education,” Steve said. “And giving is a great way to maintain your connection with the latest in education and research.”

To help future students, the couple established the Lebovitz Family Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2008, and in 2014 made another contribution to the fund that was matched through the university’s Financial Aid Initiative. “We decided financial aid was the place where we wanted to invest, because of its role in keeping colleges and universities equitable,” Lisa said. “And it’s important to be able to attract the best students from around the country and the world.”

But the couple hasn’t stopped there. Lisa joined the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life’s Board of Advisors in 2014. Both Lisa and Steve became key volunteers on behalf of Tisch College for Brighter World: The Campaign for Tufts in 2016, making one of the college’s first significant donations—an unrestricted gift, supporting both Tisch’s Annual Fund and the Dean’s Discretionary Fund. “The emphasis on citizenship and making an impact in your community resonates with us,” Steve said. “We try to impress that upon our kids, and we want to see that live on at Tufts.”

In recent years, Lisa brought her marketing and communications experience to bear on rebranding Tisch College of Civic Life, which houses one of the nation’s leading research centers on voting and civic engagement and prepares young people for a lifetime of civic participation. The work on behalf of Tisch allowed Lisa to understand the school in greater detail, she said, as well as learn more about all the Tufts schools it touches. She liked what she learned.

“A lot of schools are investing in civic engagement and giving students opportunities to make an impact in communities both locally and abroad,” she said. “But Tufts is researching that deeply and embedding it into the curriculum.” This work will have an impact far beyond Tufts, she added. “It’s going to make a difference in something really important: strengthening our democracy,” she said. “Investing in Tisch is the ultimate twofer, because you’re helping not just Tufts, but the world outside it.”

On top of it all, Lisa recently served on an event committee at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, where she has also purchased art and brought friends to support emerging artists. She continues to serve as an ambassador and supporter of SMFA at Tufts, and recently brought a group with Cube Art Boston to the SMFA Art Sale for a private lunch, artist talk, and behind-the-scenes tour, with proceeds going to the school. “I personally believe the visual arts are essential to any good, functioning society. And the work around civic art and civic engagement is so closely tied together,” Lisa said. “Moving forward, I think that can get even stronger.”

Alan Solomont, Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean of Tisch College, is one of many who is deeply grateful for Lisa’s involvement throughout Tufts. “She has worked with us to create and communicate a compelling vision and branding strategy for Tisch College, and we are pleased that she is sharing her valuable and thoughtful expertise with the SMFA,” he said. “Lisa and Steve are active citizens who make important contributions to every community of which they are a part, and we appreciate all they do for Tisch College and Tufts.”

What motivates the couple to get ever more involved across the university? Lisa and Steve said it’s because in Tufts, they were able to find a partner to positively impact causes they care most deeply about. “I always suggest for people to get to know the different areas of the university and look for that connection between their passion and the university’s excellence,” Lisa said. Steve shares Lisa’s excitement about their long-term—and yet still growing—engagement with the university. “It’s contagious with Tufts,” he said. “The more you learn and do, the more you want to do.”