Bates Wells Braithwaite, a law firm for charities and philanthropic giving, acted for what are believed to be three of the largest ever gifts to UK universities in recent times. One is the most generous gift in its subject area in the university’s 900 years.
The largest of the three is a £75 million gift from the McCall MacBain Foundation to Oxford University, which reinvigorated the Rhodes Trust for the 21st Century. Most recently, BWB advised on a £20 million donation from Alphawood Foundation to School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. The third gift, amounting to over £26 million, accounted for the most generous gift to Humanities students in Oxford University’s 900-year history, establishing the Mica and Ahmet Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Programme.
Julian Blake, Partner and joint head of the charities department at BWB, commented: ‘It is striking that the number of donations over £10 million to higher education institutions in the UK continues to increase. This reflects the quality of research and teaching in UK universities, and is a sign that philanthropists are giving what seems to be a greater proportion of their wealth. This might be surprising to some, given continued difficult economic circumstances. Such gifts are also a reminder that British universities are often first to meet the world’s most pressing challenges across countless fields. BWB is thrilled to contribute its expertise in charity law to this important movement.’