Growing community fundraising support for the University

Friends and groups from Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have helped to raise more than £3 million to support the work of the University.

The University has long recognised the importance of the committed support it
receives from the local community. Indeed it was a leading local resident, Dr Astley Clarke, and fellow doctor Frederick Bennett and other friends, who first established a fund in 1918 for the endowment of a University College, later to become the University of Leicester.

This philanthropic tradition continues today and is critical in providing invaluable support for the University’s academic mission and helping to ensure that Leicester continues to grow and flourish as a leading university, especially during the most challenging economic times for higher education in the last fifty years.

The Development Team has worked closely with a growing number of donors and supporters from Leicester’s diverse communities who have shown their interest in supporting those University projects that mean the most to them. Individuals, groups and companies across Leicestershire and Rutland have enthusiastically supported a wide variety of projects in 2010-11 including an appeal for a new £12.6m Cardiovascular Research Centre (CRC), groundbreaking new Kidney Transplant and Renal Research, Scholarships to attract the very best postgraduate students and Endowment Funds to support both the Arts and Sciences.

The generosity shown by people and groups in the city and county has helped to raise over £3m in new philanthropic funds to support world leading research and enable breakthroughs that will benefit the local community long into the future.

Leading members of the local community have also given selflessly of their time and advice as members of the University’s Development Board, in planning and organising fundraising activity. Dr Robin Graham-Brown, Chairman of the Board and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University, recognises their contribution:

“Board members like Michael Turnbull and Vijay Sharma are passionate about the cause and have strong links with local communities, groups, associations and businesses, which has been essential in raising awareness and significant funds in support of the University’s ambitious plans.”

One high profile project that continues to be the focus of the Board’s work is the £4m CRC Appeal. The CRC will deliver a step change in cardiovascular research
capacity that will not only help to improve the health and life expectancy of patients and the public in Leicestershire and Rutland but also across the UK and ultimately worldwide. Local charitable trust, The Edith Murphy Foundation led the way with a magnificent gift of £500,000 and the appeal has since been backed by major pledges from other local groups including the Masonic Charity Association, Lions and Rotary Clubs and the Heartsearch charity. The public campaign to raise the final £1m to fund specialist equipment at the Centre was launched at the Highcross in August with the unveiling of the Stranded Heart sculpture donated to the project by a local Leicester supporter. Highcross have also donated £2,000 to the appeal and will host a series of fundraising events which began with a successful shopper’s collection by Leicester students which raised a record £1,500.

Leading members of the Asian community have also been greatly involved in supporting the appeal with notable support from the Shree Lohana Mahajan, the Shree Sanatan Mandir and collections during the Vaisakhi celebrations by leading Gurdwaras across the city. Over £40,000 was raised at a business dinner sponsored by the Indigo Restaurant and the Heartbeat Fundraising Ball sponsored by Star TV, the major Asian TV service in the UK, is planned for 29th March 2012 at Athena in Leicester.

This article originally appeared in LE1 Spring 2012/Annual Report Edition 2010/11.

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