CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Dream of dining and discussing space travel with former NASA astronaut and MIT Aerospace Engineering Professor, Jeffrey Hoffman? Want to grab a sandwich and talk sports analytics with Ben Shields, former ESPN executive and Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan? Perhaps you'd like to break bread and ponder the future of nanomedicine with Paula Hammond, the head of MIT's Department of Chemical Engineering?
Now is your chance. A grassroots organization of MIT staff and faculty members have launched a charity auction offering participants the opportunity to bid on lunches with over 50 luminaries at MIT. In addition, the group is running a raffle where participants can contribute $5 to be entered into a drawing to win a lunch with the MIT faculty member of their choice from the auction.
The proceeds from the fundraiser will be disbursed to the Cambridge Community Foundation's Cambridge COVID-19 Emergency Fund and the Cambridge Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund for COVID-19 with the help of Community Giving at MIT.
As the global pandemic has erupted over the last month, MIT has worked to help the City of Cambridge weather the ongoing public health emergency. The Institute's assistance has included direct financial support, suspension of rent for tenants in MIT-owned properties, housing for emergency responders in unused MIT buildings, and other initiatives.
"I share with my colleagues a feeling of responsibility to help support those who've been affected by the current health crisis here in our home city of Cambridge," says David V. Capodilupo, Assistant Dean of MIT Sloan Global Programs. "This is one small—and we hope fun and interesting—way for us to give back to our local community during this challenging period."
Bidding for the fundraiser, which is modeled after Warren Buffett's annual charity auction, launched on April 16th and will conclude on April 30th at 11:55pm. Winning bidders can choose between a conversation with their chosen faculty member via Zoom or an in-person lunch to take place after social distancing measures are eased.
"At a time of lockdowns and social distancing, this fundraiser can help build new and meaningful connections," says Longzhen Han, Assistant Director of the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program, who is spearheading the fundraiser. "Not only does MIT have brilliant faculty members, they are also very generous. We are thrilled that they are dedicating their time in this unique way to benefit a good cause close to home."
The auction website showcases the nearly 60 professors from over 10 different departments who have signed on to the effort. Each bio includes a fun fact—consider it a conversation starter—about the faculty member. For instance, Jeffrey C. Grossman, the Department Head of Materials Science and Engineering, used to be a competitive ballroom dancer. Zeynep Ton, Professor of the Practice of Operations Management at MIT Sloan, played volleyball for Penn State and participated in two NCAA final four tournaments. Meanwhile Roberto Rigobon, Professor of Applied Economics at the school, once played in a rock band that had three number one hit songs in Venezuela.
Renée Richardson Gosline, a Senior Lecturer in the Management Science group at MIT Sloan, says she was inspired to join the effort because, "Instead of shuffling the deck, COVID-19 may calcify structural inequality and hit the vulnerable hardest. We must all do our part. At MIT, we say, "Of the world. In the world. For the world.' The #mitcharitylunches embody this ethos."
All donations to the auction are tax deductible. The organizers say they are open to engaging with local donor organizations interested in making matching gifts or providing other support.
"Our greatest weapon is the strength of our community," says Sharmila C. Chatterjee, Senior Lecturer in Marketing and the Academic Head for the MBA Track in Enterprise Management at MIT Sloan. "We do well when every single member does well. Working together, as one, is the only way to make this happen."
For more information, click here.
About the MIT Sloan School of Management
The MIT Sloan School of Management is where smart, independent leaders come together to solve problems, create new organizations, and improve the world. Learn more at mitsloan.mit.edu
SOURCE MIT Sloan School of Management