Sarah and Anthony getting ready to deliver the MIT Giving Tree gifts.

MIT Giving Tree

Bring Holiday Cheer to Families in Need

Surprising an individual or family with unexpected gifts is one of the most rewarding ways to celebrate the holidays—especially when they might not expect to receive any gifts at all. The MIT Giving Tree campaign makes it easy for you to brighten someone’s holiday experience.

We work with staff, students, alumni, faculty, and friends to provide gifts to individuals and families in the Cambridge and Boston area then partner with local service organizations to distribute those gifts. The MIT Giving Tree campaign kicks off every year right before Thanksgiving break, and gifts are collected until the week of final exams.

This past winter, the MIT community donated 447 gifts to children who requested them through our local community partners and an additional 491 gifts through the general donation drive. That’s over 900 toys, books, and essential supplies that went to families in need. 

Here’s how to participate

  • Decide to give individually or organize an MIT Giving Tree group with friends or coworkers. You can work in teams of any size to purchase one gift or twenty!
  • Pick up your gift tag(s) beginning on Monday, November 21, 2016 at 9:00 am. Gift tags will be located at the PKG Center in W20-549 as well as designated locations across campus (TBD). The gift tag will include information about the child, and, in most cases, her or his gift request. The label also will include the name of the sponsoring agency. Do not lose this label! You will need to secure it to your gift so that we can make sure it is distributed to the proper child. Please do NOT wrap your gift.
  • Fulfill the child’s wish. Do your best to purchase the gift the child has requested. If you are having trouble finding the specified gift or the child did not request a specific item, buy the gift of your choice, but make sure to keep it appropriate to the age of the child to whom you’ve been assigned. Please note that we have been asked not to donate violence-themed toys, such as toy weapons, war figures, or war games.
  • Stay within the price range. The suggested monetary range for gifts is $15–$25. While you may be able to afford more, please remember that most of these children will open their presents in a group at their agencies, so it’s important that gifts distributed among a group of children fall into the same basic price range.
  • If time constraints limit your shopping opportunities, you are welcome to select our gift card option or send a monetary donation. We’re happy to shop for you. Make your check out to MIT, and mail it no later than December 5 to:
    • MIT Giving Tree
      MIT Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center
      Building W20-549
      77 Massachusetts Avenue
      Cambridge, MA 02139

Who distributes the gifts?

We partner with local social service agencies to distribute gifts to local children in need. Past partners include:

  • The Guidance Center
  • Cambridge Children and Family Services
  • Elizabeth Peabody House
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • East End House
  • Cradles to Crayons
  • Horizons for Homeless Children
  • DCF Kids Fund (for Massachusetts State Department Children’s Services, Cambridge Office)
  • Nurtury
  • Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House

A note for parents: Unfortunately, we are not able to provide gifts to individual families directly. Instead, we work with local social service organizations to provide gifts to the children they work with. Please contact the participating agencies directly for more information about whether you may participate in their giving programs.

Talk to us about Giving Tree

Office: W20-549
Phone: (617) 253-8968

Events and Deadlines

Gift Tags Pick-Up
When: Monday, November 21–December 2, 9 am–5 pm
Where: PKG Center (W20-549) and designated campus locations (TBD)

Gift Drop-Off
When: Monday, November 28–Friday, December 9, 9 am–5 pm
Where: PKG Center (W20-549)