What I’ve Learned: Linda J. Dixon
Growing up in Medford, Linda J. Dixon, J63, F99, first knew Tufts as a commuter student making a daily trek to the Hill. But when a scholarship allowed her to move to campus, her connection to the community deepened, and “Tufts became a life-changing experience.” Dixon’s Tufts engagement now spans more than five decades. In addition to providing financial support, she is a past president of the Tufts University Alumni Association and serves on Advocates for Tufts ROTC, and for 17 years she also worked closely with Tufts leadership as secretary of the Board of Trustees. Today, she brings her deep love of Tufts to her role as chair of the Gift Planning Leadership Council of the Brighter World campaign. Below, she shares her path to membership in the Charles Tufts Society, the university’s legacy society, and what it means to be a Brighter World volunteer.
Something for everyone.
One thing that’s been most gratifying about leading the cause of planned giving for Brighter World is that the Charles Tufts Society reached a goal of adding 1,000 new members, and we did it a year and a half before the expected end of the campaign. And it continues to grow! This milestone showed me that lots of people—alumni, parents, friends, people of all walks of life—are interested in gift planning. Many people think that planned giving is for people in their 60s and 70s, but it turns out supporters in their 40s and 50s are also making planned gifts, and that’s been an encouraging discovery.
A tailor-made legacy.
I made my first planned gift at my 50th reunion. I wanted to do something special, but I also wanted to provide for my sister, who devoted years to caring for our father and mother. I didn’t know how to do both—and I didn’t have the funds to make that “wow” reunion gift. But then I started talking to the Tufts gift planning team, and I learned that a charitable remainder trust was the ideal vehicle for me. Upon my passing, my sister will receive an income for her life, a percentage of what’s remaining in my IRA. On her passing, Tufts will be the beneficiary. I also was able to make a gift that will benefit several cherished parts of my life, the School of Arts and Sciences, The Fletcher School, and the Class of 1963 Scholarship Fund. And this tailor-made gift will also be a larger gift than I thought was possible.
I’ve learned that my situation can be duplicated a thousand times over with other people in similar situations. You don’t need to be wealthy. Start by sharing your story, and you will find the right match for you.
A lasting legacy.
I have found that planned giving resonates most deeply with those who want to create a meaningful legacy. I named my fund for the Dixon family, and that name is going to be carried on forever. So many others, after naming a planned gift in honor of a loved one, have felt that special gratification of knowing their names will not be forgotten. So it’s been wonderful to connect people with the gift planning team, which helps those who support Tufts consider how to make a gift that meets their financial needs and creates a meaningful bequest. People always find it’s easier than they thought, and the best part is it gives them peace of mind. They’ve done something good that will forever be a part of the university’s future.
One of the most important qualities I’ve come to admire about Tufts—and I’ve seen Tufts evolve under six presidents—is how the university has always tried to be responsive to social needs at the same time it is achieving the highest level of academic prowess. Somehow Tufts has managed to do both. That’s one of the many things I truly love about the university and why I’m happy to support it.