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University aims to raise £100m by 2014

Will Hutton of the Work Foundation

Will Hutton of the Work Foundation

Vice-Chancellor Professor Eric Thomas

Vice-Chancellor Professor Eric Thomas

Press release issued: 14 January 2009

Last night [13 January], the University launched its Centenary Campaign to raise £100m by 2014. It aims to raise £15m for social responsibility, £7.5m for culture, £15m for medicine and health, £15m to support student talent, £19.5m for emerging science and technology and £28m for buildings and a general endowment.

Last night [13 January], Bristol graduate Will Hutton of the Work Foundation launched the University’s Centenary Campaign to raise £100m by 2014.

Established with a £100,000 donation from local businessman and philanthropist Henry Overton Wills in 1909, the University has long benefited from philanthropy. Generous support over the last 100 years has helped establish the University as a world-class institution, leading the field in a number of key areas, despite its comparative youthfulness.

It is marking its centenary year with a Campaign to raise £100m in six key areas: £15m for social responsibility; £7.5m for culture; £15m for medicine and health; £15m to support student talent; £19.5m for emerging science and technology and £28m for buildings and a general endowment.

Despite the economic downturn, the Campaign has already raised £40m and the University’s Annual Giving programme is up over 20 per cent compared to the same time last year, making it second only to Oxbridge in the Russell Group of UK universities, in terms of the percentage of alumni who give and the amount they donate.

Bristol graduates have always been generous to their alma mater. In this Campaign so far they have donated £3.75m towards scholarships and bursaries for students, against a target of £5m, and generous donations from law alumni will help to refurbish the law library. Since 2004, three alumni alone have left legacies totalling over £5m to the University.

In November last year the University received a pledge of £1m for ophthalmology from an anonymous trust and, in 2008, pledges of over £2m from the Wolfson Foundation.

Speaking at the launch, Will Hutton said:

'Bristol University's Centenary Campaign provides an extraordinary opportunity for each of us to play a role at one of the great institutions in our country and our world. At a time when we must all consider what is important, and prioritise our gifts of time and energy and philanthropy, I believe that Bristol University is just the sort of place which does make a real difference.'
Professor Eric Thomas, the Vic-Chancellor added:
‘So much has been achieved at Bristol University over our first hundred years. We have earned a formidable reputation for academic excellence and have played a key role in transforming certain areas of knowledge and countless thousands of lives. But we are determined to reach even higher: hence our centenary slogan, “Great past, greater future”.
‘Our centenary fundraising campaign is designed to complement and build on Bristol's strengths, turning very good initiatives into great ones.
‘The centenary is also a perfect time to celebrate, and our ambitious fundraising Campaign runs alongside an imaginative range of projects and events to make sure that 2009 is truly memorable for our students, our staff, our alumni and the wider Bristol community.’
Asked about the challenges of fundraising in an economic downturn, Director of Campaigns and Alumni Relations, Tania Jane Rawlinson, said:
‘In hard times, people focus on what counts and on the impact their philanthropy can have. Our Campaign is about enabling donors to support the areas where we want to do more. For the Centenary Campaign, we are focusing on individuals, trusts and foundations, and corporations with the capacity to give, and the imagination to want to make a serious impact with their philanthropic investment.’
Roger Holmes, a Bristol alumnus, former CEO of Marks & Spencer and Chair of the Centenary Campaign Board, added:
'Bristol University's Centenary Campaign is about creating the conditions in which more truly groundbreaking work is likely to happen. It is about giving young people the opportunity to learn and grow at an extraordinary university.
'Most of all, the Campaign allows us to satisfy our own hunger, along with Bristol University's, to make an even greater contribution to scholarship, science, the arts, social sciences, and medicine.  Through our philanthropy, the impact we can all have on the world around us, is very great, and will be felt far and wide.'

Further information

  1. The launch took place at the Churchill Museum, which commemorates the University’s third Chancellor (1929-1965).
  2. All eight members of the Campaign Board are significant donors and will be recognised on the list of £100,000+ donors at the Campaign's close.
  3. The Wolfson Foundation is one of the University’s biggest supporters. Gifts and pledges since 2003 include one of £1.5 million, one of £1 million, one of £500k, and numerous others, including eighteen Wolfson Royal Society Merit Research Awards since 2005.
  4. The Campaign brochure is available here.
  5. A photograph of the three speakers is available to download here.
Please contact Dara O'Hare for further information.
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