Giving Thanks for a Living Legacy of Generosity

GAIA is grateful to Ellen McDonald and the Norma M. Ricci Trust for their invaluable support.

For more than 20 years, Ellen McDonald has supported the Fletcher community as a research and instruction librarian at Ginn Library. During the COVID-19 pandemic, McDonald took on an additional role as the executor of the Norma M. Ricci Trust. Ricci, McDonald’s neighbor and friend, passed away in April 2020 and left her estate to McDonald. Ricci was a lifelong philanthropist and made routine contributions to causes she was passionate about.   

“Norma cared about issues related to the environment, education and under-served communities. She asked me to give to causes that were in concert with her principles,” McDonald said.

Along with gifts to the Tufts Elephant Conversation Alliance, the Fletcher Annual Fund, and the Refugees in Towns program, McDonald decided to give to GAIA as well. “Norma was a victim of discrimination. She had a lot working against her – upbringing, religion, cultural and familial expectations. She wanted to ensure others did not face similar hardships. She was particularly interested in helping women reach their full potential,” McDonald said.

The generous gift will go towards programming on gender equality, diversity and inclusive leadership as well as support to GAIA’s PhD students.

Thank you, Ellen!  

BONUS: If you’re looking for your next read, Ellen recommends The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and Pastoral Song by James Rebanks.

A photograph of Norma Ricci holding Ellen McDonald's granddaughter.
Pictured: the late Norma M. Ricci with the granddaughter of Ellen McDonald.