Oxford’s fundamental challenge is to match the formidable endowments of its global competitors: for the most part the US Ivy League universities. In Oxford, colleges play a major part in this, and Christ Church, with its long tradition of benefactors and distinguished alumni, has a particular responsibility to uphold.
That responsibility is to foster the core values of an Oxford education. These are discussed in Section 3 of the Christ Church Continuous Development Plan, In Perpetuity. However perhaps the four which presently drive our fundraising most are:
The protection and development of Oxford’s unique tutorial system
The “needs-blind” admission of undergraduates on merit and potential alone
Support for graduate research
Conservation and improvement of a unique collection of buildings that are at once a national heritage site and a working environment
These are enduring values for which we continue to ask Old Members, families and friends to offer financial support. In a world of many competing demands for charitable support, Christ Church believes its claims are among the most worthy: an Oxford education is for life for the individual who receives it, whilst to the society that makes it possible, the economic, commercial, scientific, medical, and cultural returns are vast.
To continue those benefits for generations to come, we must provide additional income that not just keeps pace with academic inflation, but also provides new resources for ever higher educational standards.
Christ Church has a relatively large, professionally managed endowment of around £250 million. But it is rich only because, physically and numerically, it is large. The sheer scale of the buildings and the very special features that make it unique amongst colleges, carry a financial encumbrance that today puts huge pressure on its budget. The Library, Cathedral, Meadows, Picture Gallery and Cathedral School are all valued parts of the whole, but add an additional £1.75 million to annual running costs compared to most other colleges.
With the long-term decline in Government support, Christ Church has already responded vigorously to the challenge of financial autonomy, for example conferences and tourism account for 16% of income.
Thus far in Phase 1 of our Campaign, the balance of fund-raising has gone to capital projects such as Blue Boar and the Library, not to the endowment. To establish an enduring, dependable income flow, that will protect and enhance all our core values, we need over the long term, to increase the endowment whilst still in the meantime dealing with the urgent short-term projects. This second phase to the Campaign is explained in greater detail in the sections which follow this introduction.
Giving to Christ Church can be made in various ways and targeted to your preferred project. But ultimately all gifts feed into the same overall development plan that will sustain and enhance the House across the coming century and beyond. Christ Church has, in many ways, been transformed in the last three decades: by the admission of women, by new and upgraded buildings, by entrepreneurial innovation, and most strikingly by a steady and sustained rise in the academic performance of its undergraduates. The Dean, the Development Director , and the Treasurer will be pleased to discuss how you can help in this wonderfully worthwhile project of support and renewal.