Darwin College is very grateful to its many benefactors whose support significantly enhances the College’s activities. This policy sets out the considerations it will use in reaching its decisions and the procedure the College will follow when accepting benefactions


The College is a Registered Charity (number 1141105). Charity law places certain constraints on charities and in recommending acceptance of any benefaction, consideration will be made by the College under the following (non-exhaustive) headings:

a. Are the purposes of the benefaction compatible with the purpose of the College as defined in its Statutes?

b. Do the purposes of the benefaction fall within the College’s strategic plan?

c. What additional costs or burdens, if any, would acceptance of the benefaction create for the College?

d. Is there published evidence that the proposed benefaction arises in whole or in part from activity that: (i) evaded taxation or involved fraud, (ii) violated international conventions that bear on human rights, (iii) limited freedom of inquiry, (iv) suppressed or falsified academic research, or (v) was linked to bribery of a member of college or any other person? In the case of unproven allegations of criminality against a potential donor, no account shall be taken of mere rumour, but care will be exercised in accepting any benefaction, or continuing negotiations towards a possible benefaction, where there is a risk of significant damage to the College or University’s reputation.

e. Is there evidence that the proposed benefaction, or any of its terms, will: (i) require action that is illegal, (ii) limit freedom of inquiry or freedom of speech, (iii) suppress or falsify academic research, or (iv) create unacceptable conflicts of interest for the College or the University of Cambridge?

f. Is there evidence that acceptance of the proposed benefaction or compliance with any of its terms will damage the College or the University of Cambridge’s reputation, including deterring other benefactors?

g. Is there evidence that the identity of the ultimate donor is undisclosed or that the apparent donor is the agent of an undisclosed principal?

h. Is this donation likely to cause significant public interest that would be detrimental to the College?

i. Is there a conflict of interest between those accepting the donation and the donor?#


Donations of up to £50,000: the Development Director, who is an officer of the College, is authorised to accept donations of up to £50,000 where the donation is for a purpose of the College (as defined by its statutes and outlined in its strategic plan), and where the gift does not conflict with any of the considerations above. The Development Director will refer to the Master and the Bursar any proposed donation which is not for an agreed purpose of the College, or which conflicts with any of the considerations above. The Master and Bursar, acting with the Development Director, may, as the situation warrants, then either accept the donation, refer it to Council for further consideration, or reject the donation if accepting it would clearly not be in the College’s interests.

Donations of £50,000-£499,999: Any donation in this range will be referred by the Development Director to the Master and Bursar, who, acting with the Development Director, may, as the situation warrants and using the list of considerations above, either accept the donation, refer it to Council for a decision, or immediately reject the donation if accepting it is clearly not in the College’s interests. Council will be kept informed of such decisions relating to donations in this range.

Proposed gifts of £500,000 or more: these potential gifts will be referred to the Council by the Development Director for decision under the considerations above.

In the event of any donation being referred to either the Master and Bursar, or the Council, for decision, the Development Director will provide a written report outlining the substantive facts of the case including a summary of publicly available material concerning the potential donor. The Council will keep the Governing Body and the Development Committee informed of such decisions.

Use of this policy

All members of the College involved in fundraising are encouraged to consult the College Development Office at an early stage in their discussions with a potential benefactor. The Development Office will advise on the use of this policy, and consultation will also reduce the risk of uncoordinated approaches to a single potential donor; spread familiarity with the process for accepting benefactions; and may allow an early warning of anyone unknowingly approaching a potential benefactor whose donation is not likely to be acceptable. The College Development Office will also liaise appropriately with the University Development & Alumni Relations (CUDAR) and the Committee on Benefactions and External and Legal Affairs (CBELA).

Date adopted: 16 November 2022

Review due date: November 2023

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