Volunteer Spotlight: Why I Give: Maria Madison, J82, AG88, A19P, A21P, EG20P

Tulips on Campus

Why I Give: Maria Madison, J82, AG88, A19P, A21P, EG20P

An alumni trustee and Tufts parent, Maria Madison, J82, AG88, A19P, A21P, EG20P, has long worked to build a bright future for the university. She serves on an alumni group advising the university on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is also the associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Brandeis University’s Heller School, and new director of the Institute for Economic and Racial Equity.

What did your Tufts education give you?

When I think about Tufts, it was an exceptional inflection point. I went from a small, wonderful rural town in southwestern Michigan to this elite institution and was immediately introduced to a microcosm of the world. The school embodied a sense of multiculturalism, deep intellectual investigation, and community engagement, creating a strong sense of belonging.

Why has it been important for you to give back to Tufts?

When I give, I’m thinking of that long Black American history and tradition of giving back to higher ed and the arts, and serving the Black community. I have donated to programs that resonate with my life experiences and help create community, including the Unexpected Hardship Fund, the Africana Center, and Tufts Rowing. Tufts invites students to challenge themselves in new ways across the school. I hope others have many of the same opportunities I have had.

How have you been supporting antiracism efforts at Tufts?

As co-chair for the awards committee, I have worked to spotlight seniors and alumni who will show potential students what they can become. And as an alumni trustee, I try to be that voice in every meeting, helping keep leadership alerted to racial justice issues and the gap that needs to be filled. We aspire to create a culture of humility and racial equity, and build a sustainable sense of belonging and inclusion, equitable graduation rates, and quality employment opportunities.

We as Black Americans hold a marginal percentage of the wealth of the country. If we don’t invest in supporting a pluralistic society, then that divide is only going to widen due to COVID, structural racism, the economy, and climate change. We need to keep the pressure on, and to be part of the change we want to see.