In 2008, the Caius Endowment, accumulated over the centuries, excluding the College buildings, amounted to just over £100 million. Prudent investment strategies enabled the College to weather the storms of the global financial crisis and the ensuing recession relatively unscathed. By 2014, the Endowment had grown to almost £150 million, a substantial achievement but still very far short of the estimated £350 million, at current valuations, that would be needed for Caius to be financially independent of the vagaries of government policy.
The principal beneficiaries of the College’s financial success are our students, who are subsidised by the College to the tune of £5,000 per year. They understand and appreciate this generous support. As David Elstein (1961) said, in his address to benefactors at the May Week Party: ‘One day, I would hope that every Caian would feel obliged, as a point of honour, to return to the College, in due course, at least the investment the College and its Endowment have made to his or her education here.’
The College’s total annual expenditure is in the region of £14 million. The Endowment currently provides an income stream of between 3% and 4% per annum. The percentage drawn down is varied to maintain the real value of the capital – and, ideally, to increase it. In addition, in the financial years ending 30 June 2013 and 2014, the College received gifts, in the form of regular, capital and legacy donations, amounting to around £6 million per year, thanks to the generosity of donors and the fundraising activities of the College’s Development Office. Some donations are specified for immediate use; others help the College in its aim to build the Endowment towards our goals of self-sufficiency and independence.
Caius to the Future
The Stephen Hawking Building set an inspiring example: a new College building was funded by the Caian community, rather than by drawing on the Endowment. Over 2,000 Caians, parents and friends gave more than £10 million. Without their generosity, the Stephen Hawking Building would not exist.
And already the exercise has been repeated, this time generating £4.5 million to rebuild Caius Boat Club’s dilapidated, 135-year-old Victorian Boathouse, and to convert the adjoining property at 28 Ferry Path into six flats for postgraduate students with partners. The unprecedented success of the top Caius crews over the past 20 years made a compelling case for their well-deserved new facilities, but the level of fundraising required was still daunting.
Both of these developments would be unimaginable without the phenomenal support of Caians, parents and friends of the College, who simply refused to consider the possibility of failure.We hope Caius will continue to be blessed by this new flowering of the culture of benefaction. Such vision and generosity will transform our College and help us to become independent of government funding.
Accordingly, this new appeal, Caius to the Future, is primarily aimed at increasing the Endowment to support the College in perpetuity. Unrestricted gifts or legacies are of the greatest use for this purpose, as they give the Master and Fellows maximum flexibility to meet changing needs. Benefactions for specific purposes are also enormously welcome and the College will use such gifts in accordance with the donors’ wishes wherever possible. Many special funds are described in the following sections.