Why Giving Matters to the College

24th April 2023
Why Giving Matters to the College

By Caroline Notman

Director of Development & Alumni Relations


Between the COVID pandemic, a war in Ukraine, and another cost-of-living crisis in the UK, these cataclysmic events and economic unrest have brought uncertainty for many families. In spite of that, members of our Aloysian Community are still making charitable giving to the College a priority, so I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all our supporters.

Every donation made is ring-fenced for priority projects, like our Opportunity Fund for Bursaries which currently supports 50 pupils in the senior school, or our current capital project, Take Your Seat, as part of our campus improvement plan for the College Hall. Our Hardship Fund, which was set up in winter 2019 to tackle unforeseen circumstances, was ahead of its time when COVID struck and several families lost their livelihoods overnight. Building the College Endowment Fund will see further investment in Bursaries from investments and by leaving a gift in your Will to In Your Footsteps will reduce the inheritance tax on your estate, whilst supporting where the needs is greatest.

Gifts to the College give us the ability to plan, especially by the end of January each year when Bursaries are awarded following the Entrance Assessments by the Bursary Committee.  Our Bursaries are awarded not only on the academic merit of the pupil, but in addition a means-testing exercise is carried out on the applicants’ family income to ensure they meet the correct criteria.

We understand the sacrifices that many of our hard-working families are making to send their children to the College and we strive to uphold the values and wishes of our Donors, whose charitable donations are helping to fund those Bursaries.

However, fundraising is not all plain sailing!  When meeting with members of the Aloysian Community to talk about our projects and seek their advice, I have come up against three main objections:

1. Surely the College must have plenty of money? Going back to 1995 when the Assisted Places Scheme ended, the Society of Jesus stepped in to fill a funding gap for Bursaries at the College to the tune of £250,000 and the funds were placed on investment as a discrete managed fund.  This has now grown to our Endowment Fund of approximately £1,000,000 with ethical investment, but compared to other independent schools, is low for such investments.   Furthermore, many OAs are unaware that the Society of Jesus ended financial responsibility for the majority of schools which they had established in the UK, including the College. As a result, the Development Office was established in 2013. 

2. I can’t afford a large donation! Many people think that they have to make a large donation and that by giving £5 or £10 per month won’t make a difference.  Many donors give between £5 and £50 on a monthly basis.   Yes, the big gifts allow us the ability to fund pupils all the way through Senior School, but the regular monthly gifts all add up.  For example, if 200 people were to give £5 per month, that equates to £12,000 per year.  Adding Gift Aid to that achieves £15,000 – just over one year of senior school fees – so every gift really does count! 

3. XYZ Charity needs funding more than the College. We might be a fee-paying school, but we are also a charity and between gifts from donors and returns from the Endowment, around £500,000 goes to support Bursary pupils annually. 

Supporting Bursaries means investing in the next generation who may discover the cure for diseases, find solutions that make technological advances possible or become responsible employers in a global marketplace.  Basically, your gifts are helping to create those “men and women for others”.

Recently I met with a former pupil to gain their feedback on our Take Your Seat appeal for the College Hall.  Whilst they could understand the need for improvements to facilities, they said that they would “rather sit on a plastic seat in the College Hall so that a child could get a Bursary”.

Having reflected on this, I don’t believe that by improving the seats will exclude Bursaries as they are not mutually exclusive. By donating to Take Your Seat means that the College will not have to spend in future from what could be made available for Bursaries, in order to make capital improvements.  It’s just good business sense.

So, every time someone makes a gift - I know that it’s because they are committed to the College, our young people and even the eclectic buildings that make up our Garnethill campus. 

Thank you for your kind support of the College and our young people.

Please visit our new website at https://www.staloysius.org/aloysian-community