First Aberystwyth University Founders’ Giving Circle Celebration raises £11,575

The Community Foundation in Wales is delighted that the Aberystwyth University Founders’ Day Celebration in London raised £11,575 for charitable causes at the University.

On Friday 27th November we joined forces with Aberystwyth University, and, through our partnership with the Pears Foundation, created an innovative variation on our theme of Giving Circles. The evening was the ninth in our series of Giving Circle pilots, and was attended by members of the Aberystwyth University Old Students’ Association, notable alumni, and friends and supporters of the university.

Playwright, director and producer, Ed Thomas, who was honoured as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University in 2014, spoke about the important part the university played in the creation of his bilingual crime series Hinterland. This included a dedicated programme to build skills and work experiences for Aber students. Having seen the benefits of this first hand, Thomas encouraged guests to support Aberystwyth students’ learning environment and their life prospects beyond university.

Thanks to the success of the Giving Circle, grants have been awarded under the following three categories:

Student Opportunity – small bursaries to help cover travel and accommodation costs for work placements and workshops.

Student Welfare and Wellbeing – free stress busting sessions during the exam period in January proved very successful and these will be repeated in April and August.

Hardship Fund – these awards make sure that no one has to leave the university due to financial hardship. Last year 50 hardship awards were made, averaging £570 to help students complete their education, and a further 70 awards were given for food.

University Vice Chancellor April McMahon thanked the University’s alumni and supporters, explaining, “We’re honoured to have the partnership and support of the Community Foundation in Wales in our united aim to celebrate and promote philanthropy. The Foundation has undertaken focus groups with our students who are in receipt of its various scholarships to learn more about the value of these investments; it has recognised our latest major endowment gift by honouring former alumni Peter Hancock with a prestigious Philanthropy Award; and through the Pears Foundation partnership it has walked alongside us in holding our first Giving Circle.

The attitude of enabling and giving back has been a way of life for Aber since our beginnings. Our very first Principal, Thomas Charles Edwards, said. “Great Colleges become what they are by opening their gates to all comers.” That was an amazing thing to say back in 1885 – and it meant we were one of the very first universities to make scholarships available to anyone who had the talent to succeed, never mind where they came from the world, whether they were men or women, and what background or religion they might have. This was an extraordinary forward-looking view, and we are very proud of that tradition, and it’s still part of what makes Aberystwyth University special today.”

For our tenth Giving Circle event we are giving people who love Wales the opportunity to give back to Wales. On Monday 25th January (Dydd Santes Dwynwen) we launched Wales’s first online Global Giving Circle for the benefit of Welsh communities.

The first £5,000 raised will be matched pound for pound by the Pears Foundation and given as grants to five organisations in Patagonia, North America, Wales and London. Any money raised beyond the initial £5,000 mark will be automatically donated to the Fund for Wales and matched by the Big Lottery Fund.

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